Businesses owners, startups, and entrepreneurs are continuously looking for new prospects, positioning their brand, and reaching new customers. Most entrepreneurs, startups, and small business owners are attending industry conferences, seminars, trade shows, and networking events. Finding the right networking platform is critical for their corporate and professional growth.
Effective business networking is not at just about landing the next big sale or connecting with a business contact you have tried to connect with. Successful networking must focus on creating relationships. You need to establish strong relationships, trust, and a positive image within our existing and ever expanding network.
Here are some tips you should keep in mind when you are looking at networking opportunities.
- Successful networking is about being genuine and authentic. You need to create relationships that are built on trust and finding out how you can help others. Don’t fake it. It will not help you one bit. It will discredit you and your company.
- Define your goals prior to participating in networking meetings.Without a very clear vision and goals why you are attending these events, you are wasting your time and money. On top of that, you will look unprofessional to the other people in the room. The best way to prevent this from happening is to select familiar industry groups and meetings that will help you to achieve your goals.
- Connect with industry contacts who have the same interests. Attend events where to meet people who have the same business interests and positive attitude. Prior to attending a meeting, look at the list of participants, reach out the them, and ask them about their experience. It also helps to take a closer look at the meeting organizers.
- It is great to be the Go-To Person. Successful networkers are “Givers”. They want to support you, knowing that their support will turn into support when they need support in return. Sharing valuable information will put you and your business on the top of the list when they need your expertise.
- Communicate a clear message about what you do. Networking is all about the less than sixty second opportunity. You need to communicate to others what you do, how you differentiate your business from your competition. Be brief and precise enough to put that message on the back of your business card.
- Waiting days to follow up is bad for the business. Immediately follow up on meetings and referrals. When people other businesses start providing you with contacts within their network, your action, or the lack thereof, will be a reflection on them. Therefore, follow up with the business contact or referral the very same day and let your contact know that you followed up.
- It is important to be recognized as a “Giver and not “Taker”. Many networking meetings are an excellent opportunity to share what you are looking for. It is always great to offer your expertise before asking someone to do something for you.
- Global networking is a complete different topic. When you are attending events, conferences, and trade shows, you must be prepared to shift your attention to cross-cultural awareness. If you are traveling overseas, you should consult with an expert to receive appropriate training.