Free Business Advice For Networking Successfully

Free Business Advice For Networking Successfully

17 May 2022


Free Business Advice For Networking Successfully 

Why is networking important?

Business networking is an excellent and easy way to meet similar minded people, possibly opening yourself up to new opportunities by introducing yourself to new people and giving you a chance to showcase your skills or knowledge to potential employers, buyers, or just new contacts for the future.

Are there different types of networking for different career stages? Does a newly qualified person need to do things differently to an established, mid-career person?

Networking is all about marketing yourself or your business. But first you need to know who your talking to, its all about making business relationships and friendships – remember to listen and ask questions to everyone you talk too. At networking events its all about helping each other.

How to identify good opportunities/events.

In short try and introduce yourself to as many people as possible and start a friendly conversation telling people what you do in business and listen to what they do - see if there is any common ground or issues you can help each other with – or if they can recommend you to a friend or collegue. Beware networking well can take some practice to ensure the conversation flows naturally and does not end in a simple sales pitch, nobody wants to listen too.

How to make the most of these opportunities. How to make initial contact; the art of mingling; overcoming shyness; body language and positive psychology; exchanging contact details etc.

Attend both industry lead networking groups to learn from your industry experts in your field, this type of networking can help career development and knowledge. Plus attend more regional or local events to help promote your business. Consider sponsoring an event or ask to do a presentation to the group. Remember to tell people what you do or want from the networking event.

Practice before your first networking event what you are going to say to people you meet, when they ask open networking questions for example -  what do you do in business, why are you here,  tell me about your business, practice how to clearly explain to anyone what you do and what your business does -and even what you would like from your new contacts. A good networking organiser should help everyone attending to start to mingle and will have an agenda to develop relationships with new attendees, but keep your conversation light, your body language friendly but professional and try and keep eye contact and remember it all about telling people who you are in business and why your business works.  

How should you follow up after initial contact?

A simple email could work very well, if you promised to send information on a topic your discussed with a new contact or sending out a contact request on LinkedIn – its all about making long term business relationships and building your network of people you know in business. Remember its rare on your first networking event that you will meet the right person to currently promote yourself too – networking is a style of business which takes take to invest into.

Do business cards work in this day and age?

I still love a business card – it gives you a feel for the person and the business they work for. Any way of giving people your details is ok tho –if networking is soley to promote your business ensure the details handed out include your email and website address.

The value of a contacts book – is it worth keeping one?

Everyone needs a little black book of contacts, or more recently a database or mailing list of contacts. In business who you know can be one of the most important assets. For example, in sales you need to know which buyer to contact, in management knowing the right person in your industry to ask a key question can save time and money and having a recommend supplier list can be invaluable to your business. It’s all about building and keeping a relationship in business even if you only speak once a year. Remember these relationships can help build your reputation if you build your own trusted network of contacts.

Beyond face-to-face – how can you network virtually?

A lot of networking today across the world is done remotely via zoom or teams, it means you must ensure you are more focused on what you what to learn or share but it’s a great why to meet people from a lot of business sectors quickly.  Consider your purpose tho – if you’re a local estate agent maybe there is no point spending all your time on international networking groups, maybe direct your energy to your local market first.

How should you use social media — especially LinkedIn — to network? How should you present yourself and your profile to make people want to connect? Are there things you should avoid?

Review your social media and keep it professional – you never know who may see it. Ensure your social media represents you or your business in the correct manager and make sure it echos the story you tell people about you and your business. Sounds obvious but make sure all social media sites have a link back to your main business website and feature some great photos.

What are the Dos and Don'ts? When Networking and attending a networking event for the first time.

  • People Buy People always stay professional, you never know who is watching or listening in.
  • Practice what you are going to say.
  • Dress correctly for your audience.
  • Be on time.
  • Start telling people -Anyone – about your business and offering – don’t assume people know.
  • Remember not everyone will buy from you or help you. Know when to move on to the next prospect – but not too quickly.

Business Coach and Sales Expert Kieran Perry helps people to succeed in business and is a Top UK Business Mentor. Kieran offers business advice and sales help. www.KieranPerry.com

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