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Top 10 Tips For Effective Networking

Top 10 Tips For Effective Networking

Networking is a business development and marketing function… an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business to a select, targeted group of people. You can make it beneficial and enjoyable by meeting new contacts, creating strategic alliances and mutually supportive friendships. Don't let these networking events be a chore or a waste of time. Here are tips on how to make the most of your time spent networking.

1. Choose which groups to join.

Our time is our most valuable asset. Choose those organizations whose members can help develop your business. Some groups will provide clients, some support services and some strategic alliances. Choose the organizations you belong to by asking yourself: What do I need to help my business grow?

2. Have a plan in mind.

Don't attend a networking meeting unprepared. Know in advance who will be there and what the format of the event will be. Decide on your goal in advance. Is it to have a conversation with 3 people you haven’t met before? Or to catch up with 2 people you already know and make 1 new contact? You will achieve more if you have a plan.

3. Know the protocol of the group.

Some groups may be more rigid with regard to how much self-promotion is possible; others provide space to display your promotional material and business cards.

4. Be organized.

Make sure, if appropriate, you have enough display materials with you; plenty of business cards. You may need to write down a name and address, or scribble yourself a reminder. So make sure you have the right tools to suit the event, don’t just rely on your memory.

5. Make conversation. Begin to build a relationship.

A networking event is an ideal way for people to get to know you. However, it is best to get to know someone a little first, creating a relaxed friendly environment, before you introduce your services. Ask some good questions that allow you to find out a bit about the person and their business needs. Become a great listener. You are there to get to know people – not to sell to them on the spot.

6. Don't just hand out your cards.

You want the right people to have your card, not necessarily everyone. Choose those who would value having your details and then offer to exchange business cards. Having a good conversation and exchanging cards with 2 – 3 people you have met is far more valuable to you than leaving the event with a pocket full of business cards belonging to people you can’t even really remember.

7. Search out key contacts.

Don't wait for people to come and talk to you. If there is someone at the event you want to meet, seek them out. Let them know that you are interested in them and their business. Share with them what you might have in common. It may be as a referral partner or you might have a good idea for a joint venture together. If you think they may be a potential client, find out by asking open ended questions and listening to them closely.

8. Take notes.

Take quick notes to remind yourself to do anything you may have promised, or to remember a particular conversation you have had in more detail. You will need to follow up later and you may not remember those all important details if you don't make a note at the time.

9. Follow up.

The real value of networking is in the follow-up. Be sure to keep any promises you may have made. Maybe you offered to send something of interest, an article or useful report to someone. You may have suggested to someone you both get together for a coffee or quick lunch to continue your conversation. Give them a call, write them a note or send them an email. You might include a brochure detailing your services.

10. Be Patient

For most types of business, networking is a valuable source of future new business. You do need however, to keep going back to the same events; this gives members a chance to get to know you and your services better. You will find it takes 6 -12 months to reap the full benefits from having taken the time to build your business network. Whilst some of the people you meet may well become clients at some point in the future, most will not. That’s fine; the real value of networking lies in the alliances you make and the referrals you will give and receive as a result of the friendships and business relationships you have formed through regularly attending the meetings held by your chosen networking groups.

About The Author
Anne Duncan

LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE AS CONTENT FOR YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can as long as you include my Copyright and the following: By Anne Duncan, The Reluctant Salesperson's Coach. For more marketing articles, quick,easy tips and great resources for marketing a professional service visit Anne's web site at http://www.thereluctantsalespersonscoach.com Copyright Anne Duncan 2006

Closeout Services Corp.

Closeout Services Corp,
1819 N. Ocean Blvd. Suite 7013,
North Myrtle Beach
SC 29582-2744.

Tel.: 917-297-5838

Contact Person: Tom David Lewis

Email: sales@closeoutservices.com


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