Networking really does work. It works in increasing business, increasing job opportunities, and increasing friendships!
Some people are so very successful at networking, and some people struggle and never really benefit.
Here are my tips for getting the most out of your networking:
1) GO TO THE RIGHT MEETINGS
This requires you to do a little homework and find out what groups would benefit you and your company most.
2) BE CONSISTENT
Once you identify what groups / meetings you should attend, attend them regularly. People need to see your face, get to know you and like you before they will want to do business or want to refer business.
3) SET GOALS
Every time you attend an event or meeting, make a goal. You may decide you want to connect to 3 or 5 new people. Or maybe you decide to target one particular person. Whatever it is, set it and achieve it.
Choose to LISTEN more than talk. You have seen the annoying person at networking meetings that comes up to you and throws up on you with all the information about their product / service / company. Instead of being one of ‘those,’ be the person that listens and learns more about other people and other companies.
5) PROVIDE VALUE
Be the person that provides value FIRST. Find out what someone else needs, and help them achieve that. If you consistently do this, people will refer to you (and love when you come over and talk — because they know you are there to help and not sell).
6) FOLLOW UP!
This is the biggest one to me. Get cards at the networking events. And follow up via email, phone, in person, social media, etc. Follow up with the person and figure out a way to assist them!
As I always say, ALWAYS GIVE FIRST…AND GIVE MORE!