Everyone is networking here, networking there, networking everywhere yet so many people are simply not networking effectively. They’re going to events and meetings and not following up, attending events and hanging out with their friends, going to EVERYTHING without evaluating whether or not the event is suitable for their business.
And so on. Like I said, they’re networking without applying the requisite skills and smarts.
Here are a few tips so that you can be a networking superstar:
- Follow-up is crucial and in fact, don’t bother going if you don’t have a well planned follow-up program. There’s simply no way that you can remain top of mind with your networking contacts if you “touch” them once. Networking is a long-term contact sport.
- Attend events that make sense for you and your business and remember that even though you might not meet the potential client at the event, you might meet some excellent referral sources that can make the appropriate introductions. Don’t discount their influence!
- Have a networking plan and plot out the meetings and events that you will attend each month. Remember it is quality not quantity that makes networking effective.
- Be a giver and don’t expect anything in return. If you find yourself being a “perpetual” giver to one or more individuals and feel “cranky” you can always ask if they can help you out with an introduction or two. If nothing comes through then you can simply cease your referrals and work closer with someone else.
- Be creative. You can network in a myriad of ways such as alumni groups, meetups, charity organizations, formal networking groups, events, chambers of commerce and more. And don’t forget that if you don’t like what’s out there, you can also start your own!
Networking can be an incredibly powerful tool but ONLY if you are doing it correctly. Don’t waste your time and money if you’re not willing to play to win.