You can’t do everything yourself in the world of business. This is why it is so important to meet people and work on building a strong business network.
You should always be out there meeting people and cultivating the relationships in your growing network.
Here are 10 tips to help your networking efforts pay off.
1. Make an Effort
Networking shouldn’t be something that just happens. Get organized and plan a schedule of attending events or other opportunities to network, along with following up and nurturing your new relationships.
2. Face to Face Is Better than Virtual
The internet makes it easy to meet people and stay in touch, but face-to-face contact in person is still the best. Take advantage of any opportunity you have to network offline and interact in the real world with your contacts.
3. Know What You Bring to the Table
Before you set off to network, identify the skills, experience, expertise and other value that you can offer others. Take a good look at your resources and skill set to determine what you can do for others. Approach the new people you meet with confidence and let this value show.
4. Get into Conversations
When you’re at an event networking to build your list of contacts, it’s better to meet fewer people but become more engaged with them than to meet many people who you only have a chance to say “hello” to. Try to get into a real conversation with someone even if it means you’ll meet fewer people.
5. Go for a Win-Win
Don’t form relationships based strictly on what others can do for you. If you make each relationship mutually rewarding so that it’s beneficial for everyone, it will be much stronger. The other party will be more likely to do things for you when they’re also benefiting from knowing you.
6. Stay in Touch
A very important part of cultivating network relationships is staying in touch with those you meet. Whether you interact casually on social media or actually write formal follow-up letters, it’s important to stay on the radar of the people you meet.
7. Follow Up with an Offer
For your first follow-up with new contacts, be proactive and offer to do something for them. Offer some kind of help they need that you can provide in just a few minutes. This is a great reason to follow up and keep in touch, and also boosts your relationship with goodwill. Your new contact will immediately see the value you have to offer.
8. Keep Records
Keep a file on each of your contacts and try to record as much as you can about them. Record personal information for your contacts such as their likes and dislikes as well as pertinent business information. This data can clue you in to their needs and ways you can make connections with them.
9. Maintain Professionalism
Your contacts aren’t your friends. For some with whom you have a more distant relationship, keep the appropriate level of professionalism. Always correspond with them politely and don’t forget the say “please” and “thank you.”
10. Pay Attention
Through each contact with your network, pay attention and listen closely. You need to recognize if your contact with the person is intrusive and whether or not it’s valuable to them. This is how you build a strong long-term relationship.
Main Takeaway for Building A Strong Business Network
As much as possible, make your networking relationships valuable to the other person. Don’t make it all about what you need from them.
If your contacts get great things by knowing you, they’ll be on the lookout for ways they can reciprocate and help you too, it’s a natural flow to building a strong business network.
Do you regularly attend gatherings for business networking like mixers, community meeting, etc? How has networking in those groups helped your business? How do you stay top-of -mind with your key connections?
PS: If you’re having some challenges breaking the ice at the network events you attend, sign up for my building rapport training, it’s free and you soon find yourself networking with confidence.