"Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging."
- Deepak Chopra
If you consider “networking” to simply be chatting to people and handing out a few random business cards, you’re probably leaving money on the table. Creating a strategic network of business connections needs to be planned, considered and nurtured so these connections become a valuable part of your business.
Networking to create profitable connections isn’t hard if you learn the techniques required and create a strategy that fits you and your business. Here are some steps to get you started.
Step 1: Prepare
Set your goals and work out what you want to achieve with your networking. Do you want to find new clients? Do you want to liaise with people from complementary industries so you can work together or refer work to one another? Do you want to meet people you can learn from? Your goals will determine your approach when networking.
Work out your positioning statement. Your goals will determine what you say when you’re introducing yourself, and you will may need to have more than one version. Practice your pitches so they sound natural and use chatty language.
Step 2: Network
Meet, mingle and have conversations with as many people at the event as is possible in the format/timeframe. You’ll quickly work out who you need to spend more time talking to (based on your goals above) and who you need to walk away from (without offending them!)
Get business cards from those who are potentially valuable connections (after qualifying) and give yours to them. Arrange a time to call them or meet again one-on-one if it’s appropriate.
Step 3: Nurture
Having met some potentially valuable connections, nurturing those connections is now vital. If you don’t follow up, they’ll forget about you.
If you haven’t already arranged to speak or meet again, follow up with a purpose in mind and remind them of what you spoke about.
And then add them to your database of connections and at some point when it seems appropriate connect on LinkedIn.
Planning your networking and developing strategies is a far better approach than just turning up and hoping for the best. Networking has the potential to rapidly grow your business and advance your career if it’s done the right way.
If you’d like to learn more about creating and managing profitable networks, our Create and Manage Networks Program teaches you everything you need to know about taking your business to the next level through networking. Or call us to discuss your next workshop on 1300 785 815.