Business Networking Tips
Networking. It’s a vital tool to help build business, and you’ll be amazed at its power when utilised well. But everything depends on your approach; you’re unlikely to be effective by simply handing your business card diffidently to potential clients, hoping they won’t throw it away. Like any business endeavour, it’s vital to be proactive, set yourself goals and follow a strategy. This is where following a few simple business networking tips can really make a difference.
First impressions count
You never know who you might meet, or who might prove to be a useful contact. So, ensure that you’re always ready to network! Dress smartly, carry business cards everywhere and perfect your “elevator pitch” – the short and snappy spiel you will use to describe your product or services to catch people’s interest. And, don’t forget one of the most important business networking tips of all: a friendly smile always goes a long way.
Build a rapport
Even though you’re aiming to make connections that will benefit your own business, don’t neglect to listen to and show interest in your new acquaintances. Build up a rapport by asking questions about their enterprise – what they do, how long they’ve been doing it, the challenges they’ve faced and anything that they can recommend. You’ll learn a lot, and you might even be able to offer your own tips or expertise, or put them in touch with a contact of your own. Business networking is a two way street.
Make connections online
Once you’ve met a new contact, make sure you follow up and cement the acquaintance by connecting on LinkedIn. It’s a powerful networking tool for every professional, and you’ll be able to check out your contact’s own connections, give and receive public recommendations, and join in discussions on topics that are relevant to you both. If you don’t yet have your own profile, make it a priority to set one up straight away. It’s a phenomenally effective online “shop window” where you can showcase your services and connect virtually with an abundance of likeminded professionals.
Hold your own networking event
Organising your own networking event is a great way to launch a product or build brand engagement by keeping up with your network. You could hold a seminar for local business people to share business networking tips or simply set up regular breakfast meetings where people can meet, chat and exchange ideas. Being proactive in this way will help you to make and maintain strong and productive connections with the right people. And making them a regular event will enable you to nurture the relationships – so that you and your business will remain fresh in people’s minds.
Maintain regular contact
Whether it’s online or in person, maintaining regular contact with your connections is just as important as that initial chat. If you want to talk further, organise a one to ones after your event so that you can chat in more detail. And as above, always keep in touch with potential referrers online, using LinkedIn and other social networks. That way they’ll always be there in case you need to get in touch about any business matter – and you’ll always be there too, should they ever require your services.
Why not join us at our free New Members Event on May 19th at the Hare and Hounds for a night of networking, nibbles and wine!