Networking Success Tips: 12 Tips for Success
Are you networking on a regular basis to build your online business? Networking is part of the long game. This means that you may not see immediate results. However, what usually happens if you work hard is that when the work you do today starts paying off tomorrow it will snowball. But first you have to do the work today.
- Make a list of who you know – You may be surprised at how many people of those you already know that can probably introduce you to other important people. Starting with who you know, then branching out to new groups is a great way to get started with purposeful networking. The people you know now likely also know about networking groups that you can join.
- Separate your list into categories – You’ll need to separate the people you know into groups. Some people are family, some friends, and some are professional contacts. Some will be in all the groups. You want to also rank the people that you know in terms of how much help you think they can provide you in terms of business connections outside of your friends list.
- Nurture each network – As you choose the networks in which you’ll be involved, be sure not to spread yourself so thinly that you can’t properly nurture them. Networking can be a lot of work. You’ll need to stay in contact with new people that you meet and build up the relationship. This can take some time to do because it may require several conversations, emails, and other types of sharing before the relationship is strong.
- Update your network on what you are involved in – One good way of following up with your network is to share what you’re involved with. If you have online groups, it’s simple to share with everyone in the group what you’re doing. Just be sure not to cross over into sales. It’s good to be excited about what you are doing. Your network will be happy to know what you are doing, too.
- Keep track of everything – Once you have several networks and individual relationships which you are building, it’s important to keep track of what you have done, and what you plan to do. A good use for Google Calendar is to keep an ongoing diary of what you’ve done, and a schedule of what you plan to do. If you don’t schedule follow-ups and planned contacts with people you’re trying to build relationships with, time will get away from you and you won’t follow through. You can also use a contact management system built for networking that enables you to keep all your contacts organized in a way that is beneficial to you. If you keep track of all the conversations you have with each contact as well as schedule future contacts, you’ll be more successful.
- Be a ready resource to others – Sometimes the best thing you can do for your network and for individual contacts even if you cannot personally help them with something, is to be a useful resource to them. If someone in the network needs an assistant, know who you can recommend. If someone in the group needs information about a particular topic that you’re familiar with, send them your sources. If they need a reviewer for a product, volunteer. If they need a guest article, offer one. If you are good at keeping track of what members of the network do, you’ll be able to connect members to other members who have what they want.
- Answer your phone and email promptly – Nothing can be more irritating than to call someone and not ever be able to get connected with them. Try to answer your phone and your email as quickly and as promptly as possible. If you only answer messages at certain times of day, be sure to say so in your messages and inside your emails. The new way of working less is great, but the truth is the early bird gets the worm. Every single time.
- Dress for success – When you go to a networking event, it is important to dress appropriately. It’s been discussed before in this report but it is super important to dress in a way that is expected so that you don’t put people off. It is okay to stand out in a good way so that you’re remembered, but you don’t want to look like you wore dirty laundry or that you’re showing off too much.
- Practice your elevator speech – You don’t want to sound practiced or like a recording when you tell people what it is that you do. But, you do want to practice several different manifestations of elevator speeches based on potential scenarios. You want it to be very natural, but practicing will help because most people are a little nervous and caught off guard at networking events when asked questions. Practice with the type of questions you may have received in the past. When the event is over, make some notes about the types of questions people asked you and work on perfecting your answers for the future.
- Give out business cards – Don’t stand there like you’re handing out bulletins, giving them out to as many people as possible. Instead seek to give your business cards out strategically, giving them to the right people. Always give a business card to people who ask for one, or people who give you their card. Other than that, only give your card to people that you genuinely want to get to know more about and connect with more or who can offer something important to you in the future. I resisted giving out cards for years, but now I use a company called MOO for some excellent styles and designs.
- Try to meet three new people at each event – Before going to any particular event, if you know who is going make a list of particular people you’d like to meet. By identifying three new people that you want to be introduced to, you can perhaps arrange the introductions in advance. Plus, you can take the time to learn about them so that you can impress them with your knowledge of their business. If you can’t do that, try to meet them when you are there. It is very tempting to stand around the same people at each event, but it’s important to branch out and meet new people. But, try to meet specific people in a strategic way.
- Follow up – Whenever you meet someone new, it’s important to follow up. You want to drop them an email, call them to invite them out for coffee or tea if they’re local and connect outside of the event. Even if you have never met someone in person, if you meet them online through a group and you know you’re going through their area, ask to meet for lunch, dinner, or coffee. Then follow up again.
Knowing the right people can push your business to the next level. But, the most important thing is to network for the right reasons, which is to build relationships and help others. The rewards you get from your efforts will be invaluable. At every event you attend, whether it is online or offline, it’s important to realize that your interaction with everyone is kind of like an extended job interview. People are always evaluating you to see if you keep your word, if you can walk the talk, and are someone who can help them with their business.
The Next Step
To wrap it up, we’ve now covered why it’s important to network in many different ways, both online and offline. You also know what to do to be super successful with the advanced networking techniques we’ve discussed. But, learning about them is not as important as doing them. You are now challenged to go find one in-person event that you can attend in the next 90 days, one online event that you can attend in the next 30 days, and one online mastermind group that you can join in the next week.
Only by doing can you perfect your networking skills and take your business to the next level.