Today I’d like to talk about: Professional Networking – Help your company’s bottom line.
I hear the groans already… I hate networking. I’m uncomfortable talking with strangers. Well guess what, networking is probably one of the best ways to grow your business. The heart of any business is the connection it has with other businesses and individuals that it can call upon to help meet its needs. Networking enables businesses that do not compete with each other to refer, share leads and find creative ways to partner. Networking events help you advance professionally.
No matter what type of business you have, it is all about relationships and how people perceive your talents. Your fellow business people are a vast resource. Focus on the quality, not quantity, of your connections at networking events. You’ll get better results by making a few good connections then by handing out dozens of business cards indiscriminately.
Most networking veterans agree that it’s hard to beat a face-to-face meeting to make the best contacts. The best lead generator is a handshake — the human touch.
Networking may sometimes seem insincere pretentious or even manipulative. There are always going to be people that judge someone by their position or image but there are many people who really want to build a true and mutually beneficial relationship.
You might consider yourself shy or self-conscious to go out and meet people. Networking does require a degree of boldness. The more you do it the easier it becomes and you will enjoy the adventure. The key is to smile and take interest in other people’s interest. Listen to what they have to say. Listen and learn.
Some pointers about networking:
Go with a goal. Have a firm reason to be at the event and know what you want out of it. Are you looking to acquire new prospects, meet colleagues for possible collaborations, and create name recognition for you and your business.
When someone asks you what you do make sure you can communicate not only your business, but also its benefits, in a clear, concise manner in 15 seconds or less. Is your message crisp and to the point? Is it compelling? This is not the time to give a dull, dry description. This is the time knock people’s socks off and rally make your company shine.
Leave the resumes and sales pitches at home. Networking is networking. Sales is sales. These are social events. If you are there to sell yourself, most likely you will fail. Nobody wants to be sold when the environment doesn’t call for it. Be genuine and sincere.
Remember networking is a good thing. It’s about building relationships. As easy as networking sounds—and it really is pretty straightforward—it takes time build and it takes time to be good at it but it’s worth the time and energy. It will help build your client base and you might even find some new friends.