A meeting that seems casual and unplanned can often lead to new business. But to make the most of these chance encounters, you need to know the types of people who can be helpful to you and your business and, even more importantly, you need to be able to communicate how you can add value to them.
Here are some quick tips for turning casual conversations into profitable relationships through better networking.
- Talk to the right people. Who are they? Well, either people whom you can work with and have the power to make decisions or else people who can introduce you to the above.
- If you’re going to a networking event, ask yourself what your goals are in participating in the event. Are you looking for potential customers, suppliers or people who can recommend you?
- But be careful, in your desire to reach your objectives, don’t take on the persona of a snake oil salesman. Networking is about being genuine and authentic. Welcome people into your group and be the one to make the introductions.
- When you join a new group, ask some open questions about the other people before you talk about yourself. The rule in networking is ‘be interested before your interesting’.
- Mind your reputation! Become known as a powerful resource for others. When you are known as a strong resource, people remember to turn to you for suggestions, ideas, names of other people. This keeps you visible for them.
- When asked about what you do, talk about how you help other people achieve their objectives, rather than what you are. For example, I’m a marketer (not very interesting) but what I do is I work with companies to help them win and retain profitable customers (a lot more interesting). When you talk about what you do, you are much more likely to lead to follow up questions about how you help companies.
- At a networking situation, a good objective is to look for a follow up opportunity. The best one of all is to arrange to meet for a cup of coffee. But you can also look for opportunities to help someone by offering them some information or introducing them to others. If you do promise to send on some information or a contact, do so quickly because you are on the first step towards building your reputation with your new business contact.
If you want to improve your team’s networking skills, contact us now for information on our training programmes selling and networking.