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Top 10 Tips For Effective Networking - Mark Rhodes

Posted 1843 Days Ago in: Coach Plus Articles, Coaching Articles

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There is so much focus on the building social media connections that the power of face-to-face networking has been temporarily overlooked. However, even when working with social media, the relationship needs to get offline and become face to face at some point in order for any meaningful business to be done.

There is so much focus on the building social media connections that the power of face-to-face networking has been temporarily overlooked. However, even when working with social media, the relationship needs to get offline and become face to face at some point in order for any meaningful business to be done.

What is the best way to network with potential business contacts? How can you make an introduction work for your business? How can you sort the quality connections from the time wasters? And what can you say to make the best possible impression? Since selling my own business in 2001, I have spent a great deal of time speaking to and mentoring other business owners who want more success.

How to network effectively is a common area of concern. Here are the top 10 tips I give my clients to get better results from face-to-face networking:

1. What networking isn’t…

Networking isn’t selling! If your desired outcome is solely to sell your products or services, that will be difficult to achieve. New contacts need to get to know and trust you before deciding whether what you have to offer is something they want to buy. The old saying ‘people buy from people’ has never been truer than it is today.


2. What networking is…

Networking is an opportunity to meet the 5% of business professionals in the room who are relevant to your line of business, and with a mindset and approach that matches your own values; people with whom you might build a relationship of trust, such that at the same point you may pass business to one another. It is a social investment for the future.

 

3. Do your research and get there early!

If possible, contact the organiser in advance and find out who is likely to be at the event so you can do some initial research into their business. Being prepared will leave you in a more confident position to ask relevant questions. Arrive early, so that you can have a chat with the organiser and ask them to introduce you to the types of people you’d like to meet at the event.  

 

4. Talk less, listen more

Always begin by asking the other person what they do and what they love about their work. Ask about their success and their personal motivation. You want to learn about them first so you can assess whether their expertise, their standards or values, are of high enough quality for you to someday refer them to people you know. They will appreciate the opportunity to talk, while all the time you are getting the information you need to decide whether you want to take the relationship further.


5. Be interesting… and memorable

People usually remember introductions and farewells with greater clarity than anything that was said in between because they are often the ‘stand out’ moments in a conversation. If someone asks you what you do, talk in terms of the results you deliver for your client rather than your work on a daily basis. It’ much more interesting for the listener - and they are more likely to ask you how you do it. For example I never say “I’m a speaker and business mentor,” instead I say “I help businesses massively improve results with little or no extra effort.” Help people to remember you by wearing something distinctive or saying something memorable and finishing on a high note.


6. Be selective about who you spend time with.

There will always be those who are motivated more by the number of profile contacts they make rather than the quality of relationships they build. They may want to introduce you to their clients before truly knowing what you do or whether your skills will be relevant. These people are potential time stealers. I If you sense you have no professional common ground, extract yourself politely by saying you are sure there are others in the room who it would be useful for you both to meet.  

 

7. When you have found a quality contact…

Turning a quality introduction into a personal contact can take a little while – though if you have similar standards, goals or even clients it should take no time at all to establish common ground and create a reason for a follow up meeting. The challenge comes when you need the contact more than they need you. My approach is often, “I’d love to get together with you in a week or two so I can find out more about what you do. I might have some contacts who could possibly be useful to you at some point in the future.” What genuine networker will say no to that?

 

8. Before you move on to someone else…

Once you have booked that future meeting date, ask your new contact who else in the room they would recommend you to meet… and ask them to introduce you.

 

9. Help other to network too

If you know other people in the room who could be helpful to one another, make sure you introduce them. Remember, what goes around comes around. Other people will remember you positively if you help them too.

 

10. Be authentic…

During coffee, lunch, a drop-in chat – whatever style of meeting you have agreed upon – is where you have each other’s undivided attention and the time to talk about your experience, approach, and what you can offer. Talk about hobbies and other interests as well, to build rapport and a deeper relationship. Remain a professional, but always be yourself. Who you know is as valuable as what you know because those people know others, and so the networking and business growth cycle continues.

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