Networking is one of the most effective tools you can use to grow your business and increase your bottom line. People buy from people, and when your name is better known, it stands to reason that you will be top of the list when others need to buy from your industry.
Finding the right people to network with can be tricky, but events, trade shows and exhibitions create the perfect environment for professionals to mingle and grow their networks.
Networking is essentially a very soft sales technique. While the pitch is more remote than usual, those who learn how to build and work personal networks can improve their results in sales.
There is no need to be manipulative or too direct, but those who can guide the conversation in the most effective way and build genuine rapport with individuals can find it easier to sell to and partner with those networks.
Here are our top three tips for succeeding with networking, in order to get more value from networking events and opportunities.
1. Create The Right Impression
This is Sales 101, but creating the right impression from the first instance is essential to building the right networks for your business.
Your appearance, behavior and manner are all under subconscious scrutiny, and those who are confident social operators will find the transition to networking much more straightforward.
Confidence is key here, and if you reflect positivity and success in your approach, you should see this mirrored by those you are networking with.
When you are networking at select events, it may also be wise to take promotional literature and display materials with you to set up a pitch.
Banner Stand Pros offer professional grade banner stands, which are retractable and can be easily taken to events to give you and your business a more professional edge.
2. Engage With People Personally
Make the effort to engage with people on a personal level, and find points of conversation that are of interest to them. Commonality and shared experience are vital here.
Anything you can offer to engage people on a genuine level will help sway them to your way of thinking, which can be helpful if you need to call on them for a follow-up later down the line. Remember, this isn’t about the hard sell.
Networking is more of a slow-burner, but the relationships that can come from engaging personally in the process are often worth much more in the long run.
3. Always Arrange Follow-Ups
Most people who attend networking events and look to develop their personal web of contacts simply exchange business cards and leave it at that.
Why not go one step further and arrange for follow-up discussions to chat about things further? This doesn’t have to be a formal meeting, but floating a coffee to a prospective member of your network can allow you to escalate the relationship toward eventually doing some business.
Always propose a follow-up meeting where you think there could be some value to your business – if you make a good impression, you should have no difficulty in securing permission to chat to your network prospect further about ways you could potentially do business together.