Networking in business: A great tool or a waste of time?
Many business entrepreneurs believe that networking is an essential part of their marketing mix, there are also opportunities for networking where company owners, directors and staff meet, discuss business and have the potential to pass business to each other.
Let me give you ten networking tips:
- Mindset - Ensure that you have a good charisma, people need to see you are happy and friendly before they can approach you. Think positive and be prepared to meet anyone immediately with every person in the room.
- Friendly - BUT business-like - You need to weigh out your judgement on who you want to meet in the room, sometimes it is possible to find out who will be attending and you can make some real plans to meet with them.
- Business cards - Some people may think they are old fashioned but it’s definitely not true as they have continued to prove to be a useful tool.
- Be present - You need to look into the people’s eyes directly when communicating with them, be firm with your handshake.
- Summarise - Rather than elaborating all you can do, make a few points and let them know if the networking has worked for you.
- ‘Listen’ - Pay attention to what they are saying, ask open questions such as ‘how has business been for you lately’.
- Plan - If you reach the point when exchanging business cards, do it with a purpose, an intent to follow up with ‘Can I send you an email tomorrow?’ - And do it!
- Email - Only send an email to the contact if you both have agreed to do it, you can sense if they are being serious about receiving your email or trying to get rid of you.
- Relationship - A good advice is relationship first, business second. There is a mantra ‘Meet, like, know, trust’ and it is effective as trust leads to business.
- Connect - Try and look for opportunities where other business can be used and people will be grateful and appreciate you for it.
Businesses need to sell, that’s a fact.
If you’re selling something - do your research, take it seriously and if you don’t get what you want, play nicely and do not rant.
Good selling requires effort, understanding, and relationship. It’s a skill and if you get it right it can be the best part of any job. Having said that, there are bad selling in the business world.