Consider the value of your time and effort in getting to the event. Did you make sure you got a return on that investment?
If the answer is no to the last question, it’s time to rev up your networking mojo. If you want to become a masterful strategic networker, you have to be the one that makes it happen and that means taking a proactive approach.
Many business owners take a haphazard approach to networking and wonder why it doesn’t pay off. Make sure you:
• Evaluate whether or not the networking event gets you in front of your ideal prospects or referral sources.
• Give referrals.
• Have a systematic way to follow up
• Are clear in your description of your ideal clients
The next time you attend a network event, get your networking mojo back by using these tips:
1. Be the Masterful Connector
As you enter the event, identify who you know and who you don’t know. While you it’s natural to gravitate toward people you already know, focus on the individuals you haven’t met.
Introduce a new acquaintance to the people you know. Break the ice between them by sharing something they both might have in common. This jump starts their conversation.
Your new acquaintance will appreciate that you showed an interest, connected them with others (ideally in their target market), and made them feel welcomed especially if they are a newcomer.
2. Be Strategic
Newbie business owners think they need to “sell” their services when they network. Effective networking is about relationships not about trying to sell people you just met on your products or services the first time you meet them.
The next time you attend a networking event, focus on the other person by asking questions about:
• Why or how they got into their line of business
• Their interests or goals for the year
• Their ideal referral
Then, set up the meeting between them and their ideal referral. What a great way to start creating a relationship. They’ll surely remember that you proactively brought business to them.
3. Seize the Moment to Shine
When you’re asked by your network that common phrase, “If I can ever help you, please let me know” seize the moment!
Have an idea on what you need, like:
• An introduction with a decision maker at a company you’re interested in working with
• A supplier to help you bring a product to market
• A panel speaker for an upcoming nonprofit event you’re planning
When they see that you have a specific answer, it shows that you are prepared to conduct business. It also instills confidence that you are a seasoned business owner.
A strategic approach to networking creates long-lasting relationships. Over time, you’ll develop referral partnerships by design all because you connected others, were strategic in your approach, and seized the moment. These partnerships will help you create a referral system that does the work for you helping you grow a profitable business.