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So, I signed up for the 30 day blogging challenge…and while I split the challenge between three blogs, the first day was over on my business blog, I thought we should start from the very beginning with networking.
It can feel a little overwhelming sometimes. Getting up and ready to go to a business meeting with potentially lots of new people. Well, it is for me at least! There are times when you’ll want to stay at home and just work in the business, and not go out to network to get more clients and potential connections, because, well, it can be daunting to enter a room full of people you won’t know.
This is the case, especially if you are new to networking – the room will have people you don’t know, I’m not going to lie about that. It will continue to have people you don’t know in the room, while you attend more and more regularly.
Take a moment and realise how awesome that is.
It’s a room, full of people, that may want to know more about you and your business, or may become great connections for your customers and for you. These people are all in the same boat as you. These people either are employees of a business that are expected to get clients from these meetings, no pressure there, or are business owners who are their only salespeople, again applying pressure to their meeting.
So, here are a few simple networking necessities on what to do before, during and after a networking meeting that will help you rock your networking world, no matter if you’re a newbie or a seasoned networker, I’d love it if you would add some of your own in the comments below too.
- Find a networking group that suits your needs. There are so many groups out there that you will find one that suits what you prefer. Whether it’s early mornings, so you don’t miss any working time, lunchtime or even in the evening – timing doesn’t matter! You may also find you prefer structured meetings, smaller meetings, more in-depth meetings like NRG masterminds, or perhaps a more open or larger group. Find what suits you best and use it!
- Book it into your diary – these meetings are for your business. They are important and shouldn’t be cancelled. Would you cancel a meeting with a potential new client? Then don’t cancel a meeting with potentially 20 (or more)!
- Go in with a different mindset. Don’t go in expecting to sell straight away. Don’t even go in thinking of selling yourself (unless it is, perhaps, a speed networking event, in which case you need to sell yourself quickly!). Go into the meeting with the intention to build relationships with these people. For a taster into their worlds and for them to find out more about you, like you and to make you both want to have a longer meeting with each other. This will take the pressure off you, and onto a more open way of thinking.
- Ask about them first! You don’t have to always ask the traditional “What do you do” boring mantra, a great person to follow for some other questions to ask at networking meetings is @TopMarketingTip she has 101 other things to ask and you will be appreciated for asking a new question! People love to talk about themselves, but you will get to know even more about them and build a better relationship with them, if you ask about more than just their business. Be interested in their answers and take note of anything that stuck in your mind.
- The follow up is king – you can use tools like infusionsoft to do automated, personalised follow-ups so you don’t have to remember, or you can send an email as a follow up, which you write yourself when you return to your desk. Know what you have time for, and do it. The follow-up is the way to make others remember you, add you to their contacts and appreciate that you did truly listen to them and enjoy the conversation you had.
These are just 5 of the networking fundamentals I recommend you have, I’d love to know yours!