Here are five quick tips I have found to a useful reference when networking. I thought I would share them as a quick blog for others looking to be more efficient business networkers.
- Network to “connect!” Make a commitment to look for networking opportunities, then attend and connect. Try to meet as many people as you can and avoid getting trapped in extended conversations. Follow up after the event if you wish to talk at length with someone you have met.
- Connect with your target buyers. Know exactly who your target buyers are and where you can find them. If you sell maternity clothes, don’t network to a lumberjack (that is unless he mentions his wife is pregnant). Find out where your target buyers network and what meetings and annual conferences they attend, then be there.
- Perfect your “elevator speech.” Create a brief introduction; no one cares what instrument you played in the 3rd-grade band. Engage people in a way that has them asking for more information. Use the rule of thumb that most often with marketing and creating a lasting impression "less is more" .
- Connect to help others first. Remember that when we get to know others and share our knowledge, connections and talents with them, they generally want to help us as well. And the degree to which they want to help us will be much greater. Many business' thrive off the model "givers gain" .
- Stay connected. Carry lots of business cards, give them out and ask for one from everyone you meet. Follow up with an e-mail and stay in touch. Utilize business social networking platforms like the BostonYPA.com, Linkedin.com, and the ever popular Facebook.com. Perhaps you already have an email periodical for your business, enter your new contacts to receive your newsletter (remember then can always opt out in the future) . If you see an article that might interest your connections, e-mail it to them.
Above all else remember you are there to network! For most the biggest hurdle to overcome is themselves, don't wait for others to approach you to engage conversation. If you are at a networking event chances are good everyone standing around you is there for the same reason and it is not rude or informal for you to walk up and say hi, or to join a conversation that has been started nearby.