1. You keep selling. Seriously stop selling. Networking is about building good relationships and getting to know people, you need to stop putting you on your agenda and start putting other people on your agenda. Who do they want to know? What do they need? What are they looking for? Etc, etc. The more you learn about your fellow networkers, the more powerful your network and more useful you become.
2. Just flip Top Tip 1 on its head. You have no agenda, so know your agenda. Most people rock up to a networking event, head for the coffee, and the people they already know and generally chat, that is great and really good to build good relationships but have you thought prior to the event what your goal is? How does this networking event fit in with your marketing strategy? Go knowing what you want to achieve, but don’t start selling!
3. You are not prepared. Prepare a elevator pitch of around 45 seconds regardless. This helps focus your mind on what you want to talk about, what will your call to action be? What do you want people to be doing? What results would you like to see? (And the results you want to see after one networking event is 15 new clients, unless you are selling Ferraris for a £1, its not likely to happen, so think through what you really want to see happen.)
4. You can say what you like right? Wrong. People know people. And the whole point of networking is that people get to know you. If you turn up and start bad mouthing another person or network, it is highly likely to get back to them. Respect everyone and be aware that you are a walking bill board for your business. Did you know it takes 300 to 500 millionth of second for a person on the word “Hello” To decide what they think of you. So what are you projecting? How do you look after your reputation and get known for the right reasons?
5. You don’t follow up. It’s no good going once and assuming sales will start falling from the sky. (We are back to the Ferrari’s for a £1 aren’t we!) Going once is not enough. You need to go to the same network at least 4 times to find out if it is right for you, don’t make assumptions that these people are no good for your business, you don’t know yet who they know. So go regularly to really benefit and follow up effectively. Connect on social media, get to know them. If you said you would send a great top tip or share a link to a funny story, do it!
Networking is not rocket science but it does take respect, knowledge, strategy, focus and action. There are a ton of other things it needs, but for now get noisy about other people. Get engaging, take action and let us know how you get on.
This article was written by our Founder Mandie Holgate. To learn more about Mandie Holgate visit the Essex page or www.mandieholgate.co.uk