Strive for quality vs. quantity of relationships. No one wants to talk with you if you're looking over their shoulder for someone more important to track down.
Look people in the eye in a sincere way when you converse with them. Ask questions to uncover needs, pains, desires and find ways to help the other person. Deliver value in every interaction, no matter how small.
I also completely agree with Gerald's answer of following up. Consistent, friendly interactions keep you "front of mind" and helpful in the other person's mind.
Find ways to help that may have nothing to do with your business. For example, I was speaking with someone starting up a local, organic brewery who was having trouble sourcing ingredients. I referred him to two awesome organic farms that could probably help him (I personally buy food from these farms and have for years). I'm a CFO and would have no gain in that referral but he may remember my assistance.
Be interested, not interesting. Be helpful. Provide value. Give, give, give.
After attending a networking event, I choose three people (who are not prospects) to follow up with and schedule a 1-on-1.
Here's a 3 Idea in 37 Minute video I did on how to choose the people to follow up with, and the best kinds of questions to ask during the meeting: http://www.improvandy.com/elevator-pitch/effective-1-on-1s/
Building up relationships first and that may include small things like wishing b'days and keeping in touch with Gentle Hello messages.
Asking for suggestions (with an eagerness to implement as appropriate) and inviting people to be volunteers and a part of beta testing of products and services at lower pricing has worked great too.
Any networking habit that makes other personal special or important works well.
I try to answer all emails (even cold calls). I have the highest opinion of those people that take the time to say "no thank you". Jim
Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Without follow up any networking you do will fall short of what you hope to get from it. I look at it as a way to deepen the relationship we begin when we first made contact.
Listen a lot, determine who you might be able to assist, who might need your services and who you might want to work with as a mentor or advisor.
I find that you have to be willing to give first, expect nothing, and then you gain a relationship. Relationships are like flowers, they need regular watering.
Maintaining relationships otherwise for the most part I use LinkedIn.
The bottom line in networking is building a win-win relationship. The habit I use most is speaking. For example, I'm speaking to a group of clients at a seminar that a financial advisor has...I bring value to his clients...while meeting potential clients for myself. I also will be doing this for a lawyer who helps entrepreneurs speaking at a seminar to his clients. I'm not charging them a fee as this is part of my networking strategy.
I put all of my networking leads in my database. I add them to my newsletter list and send LinkedIn invitations to them as well. Those who've asked for specific things get special treatment and I always try to listen more than I speak at networking events.
Good morning Kenneth. The first thing is identifying the right meetings to participate in. When I first started I went to all the meetings, I quickly found out that I was wasting my time. Once I found the 2 or 3 monthly meetings I liked, I started the following. 1) I tried to mingle with as many people as I could without rushing, 2) As soon as I got home, I wrote them an email, telling them how glad I was to have met them. Within a week I normally follow up the email with an invitation for coffee. I look for two things in meeting new people, potential candidates for what I do, and potential services that I may need in the future, Kind of a give and take situation, to date this method seems to work for me.
- Listen more, talk less
- Genuinely care for other people's business needs
- Honest approach
- Do not be aggressive
- Offer free tips and help
I agree with all the comments here. In my experience, we all know what needs to be done to make ourselves more successful. The question is are you doing it consistently.
I would recommend applying one tactic a month become great implementing this tactic and then move on to the next one. As individuals we usually try to do everything at once and when we aren't successful. We use this as proof that change or networking is impossible..
Good Luck and Happy Networking!
Developing authentic relationships has been a key element in the growth of our business.
It seems that more and more in todays climate that people are getting frustrated with the smooth talking, slick entrepreneurs and are getting back to basics...Real content, real information, real people.
Total authenticity always wins in the long haul. Be a great listener and win!
If you ask me what platforms/techniques, regular E-mail marketing and
LinkedIn posts tend to bring you more prospects. At least it's working for me. All the best.
Social Media Marketing - Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest are my lead generators :)
1. Winnow down the number of networking events and groups to those that most fit my market or where I best find the success-oriented people I need to be around to stoke my own fire.
2. I won't give my card to someone until we have an actual conversation.
3. Try to find creative ways to follow-up with connections so I'll be remembered.
My answer to this question will not be popular! My answer is to let things flow. Personally, I don't like to "network" for the sake of personal gain, but it is my personal quirk. Instead, I prefer to make relationships develop. The need to see people you meet as a way towards some personal benefit is not one in which I am comfortable. I prefer to see how I bond with people, have genuine conversations, share my ideas and experiences and see how they resonate and if nothing happens I don't see the result (or lack thereof) as a failure or loss.
Be simple, be genuine, be realistic and be yourself. The world is wide open with possibilities, ideas will flow when they meet good opportunities - you will know!
I always start with genuine interest in the other person's business and how I can help them. Make up your own questions or use these:
What type of business do you do? What is your position there?
What do you like the most about it?
How long have you been doing this?
How can I help you with referrals...Who is a good referral for you?
I often have some referrals right away! I make notes on a small notebook and get their card (some people write on the back of the cards, but so many people have two sided cards now!) They KNOW I am serious about working on keeping my eyes and ears open to connecting when I meet someone who is a good referral for them.
Usually, the person returns in kind, if not then they are not someone with whom you want to spend more time chatting. You move onto someone else, kindly.
I also belong to a BNI group. You will not only give and get many referrals from within your group but you'll learn about speaking, presenting your business in 10 to 60 sec opportunities, doing short presentations, and the skill of networking. Networking and doing presentations are the two best ways to get and keep your business going...
Then there is optimizing your internet presence, which I do for businesses and solo entrepreneurs in any locality, nationally, and internationally. I have 5 teams of highly skilled and experienced virtual employees who help me fulfill the tasks needed to create and execute an overwhelming online presence!