Being able to network effectively is crucial to business, especially in the early stages when you’re trying to establish your business and generate clients. Networking is definitely an art and while it does come naturally to some, know that you’re not alone if you do struggle.
For those of you looking for pointers when it comes to networking, our Shockwave business coaches have put together their top 5 business networking tips.
#1: Be clear about what your goals are
The most experienced of networkers will always know what their goals are ahead of attending or participating in any kind of networking event. Are you looking to generate new clients or business? Maybe you’re looking to outsource certain tasks. Whatever your reasons, know what they are ahead of time and pick the right groups for you. It’s always best to give new things a go but you will find that networking in ways that appeal to you (breakfasts for morning people, evenings for those who aren’t) will improve your chances of networking to the best of your ability.
#2: Networking is as much about you, as it is about other people
What we’re getting at here is this: make sure you engage with others, ask them questions about their business and listen to people. Keep in mind that networking is not all about you – when you’re genuinely interested in others, you allow conversations to hit another level.
#3: Know your stuff
Can you articulate what you do, your why and how you help your clients? If you can’t, don’t worry. Knowing and communicating this kind of information to others when you’re just starting out in business, can be really hard. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with a work in progress but it’s best to have an effective elevator pitch (a succinct and effective sales pitch). Think of it this way: how will people know what you do if you can’t communicate it effectively? Don’t worry, it will get easier, especially for those who may feel a little shy or introverted.
#4: Always follow up with people
The whole point of networking is to get out there and to meet people. One of our biggest tips for networking is to always follow through. If you say you’ll get in touch with someone to chat more or organise a coffee catch-up, always actually do so. If you happen to walk away with referrals from others, remember your actions reflect on whoever has recommended you. It’s always best to respect everyone you come into contact with because you never know when you might get in touch with them again.
#5: Help others where you can
Always have a think about how you can meet others you connect with while networking. We’re talking about the small things here – suggestions if someone is describing a hurdle, ideas, names of people who might be able to help them. People will always remember someone who offers to help them.
As you can see, the above business networking tips are all very easy to implement. Trust us, they may seem simple but they will hold you in good stead while you’re out there, meeting people. After every networking event, always take some time out to reflect on what you did well and jot down some areas you can improve upon. Even the most experienced of networkers is always learning.
If you’re looking to take your networking or any other part of your business to the next level in 2017, get in touch with our Shockwave business coaches. We’re always looking to work with entrepreneurs who are open to looking at where they’re currently at and areas where we can help them to improve.
We are just one phone call away and offer a complimentary business coaching session to assess how we can help you: 03 9111 5628.