When put into a networking environment, you don’t want to be that person who shy’s into the corner and doesn’t socialise with anyone. Networking has the potential to host invaluable business opportunities, you just need to know how to take advantage of the situation. Remember: networking doesn’t only take place at events – there are also sites such as LinkedIn which bridge the networking gap and are redefining the meaning of business networking. Here are some tips for effective networking:
1) Have your business cards at the ready: You don’t want to be the individual who makes a potentially valuable connection, and then has nothing tangible for that connection to leave with. There are many apps which scan business cards, such as CamCard, and load the information onto your smart phone. This is a handy tool as it means you won’t need to worry about sifting through piles of business cards at a later stage.
2) Have your ‘elevator’ pitch ready: Know what you are going tell people exactly what it is that you do. You don’t want to speak so much that the party you’re speaking to loses interest – be sure to make it quirky, informative, and to the point.
3) Engage in conversation and listen to what others have to say: Just as they listened to you, you must be attentive to what other people are saying to you. They could have a service that would add value to your business, or perhaps have a client who may be interested in your services. Don’t let a conversation become a missed opportunity.
4) Have a niche network, not one based on numbers: You want people in your network who can add value to one another. Ideally, you want to network with like-minded individuals who are in different industries to you – this enables a great platform from which to refer clients to each other, and removes the problem of having businesses that offer similar services – an exercise in futility.
5) Post event – go through your contacts: As soon as you can after the event, go through the connections you’ve made and refine to those who you can potentially do business with. Don’t underestimate people who you aren’t convinced you can do business with – it’s all about extended circles – that person could know many people who require what your business offers.
6) Use LinkedIn: This platform is incredibly useful for networking, but remember – don’t add masses of people who could be potential clients – LinkedIn is very careful to avoid members who are just in it for the connection numbers – you could risk being kicked off. Always use the introductory box to explain why you would like the individual to connect with you, and what value it would add to them.
If you’re looking for a network that will provide you with the platform to gather quality business referrals, Just ask! is the answer. Just ask! is a network which gets like minded business owners together in a professional environment – they get together every month and DO business. If you don’t ASK, then you don’t GET – the formula is simple.