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Networking is a great tool, but you can do so many things to sabotage your own efforts!

Learn how to improve your networking success by following these three ‘rules’ for networking success…

Your First Impression

When you first meet someone, the first impression they leave you with sets the mood for how your networking experience with them will continue – here are some items to consider to improve your first impression:

  • Dress to impress – Your clothes should fit, look good and suit your business – be professional!
     
  • Business Cards – have some for a start – make sure they’re in good condition and that you have enough for the networking event.
     
  • Handshake: a firm (but not too forceful) handshake while looking the person in the eye makes a good impression – a weak handshake of aversion of the eyes gives a bad impression.
     
  • Elevator Pitch: you need to be able to quickly and concisely convey what you do, what your strengths are and who you’re looking to meet.  Practice this and have several ‘go-to’ elevator pitches.

 

Follow Up

Meeting someone is the first step – if you blow the follow-up, then all your first impressions can fade into insignificance:

  • Send a note or email: Just a quick thank you for meeting with you will solidify your connection.  A written note can often be even better in this digital world!
     
  • Connect: You need to take the next step and meet again for a more detailed understanding of your contacts needs and to ensure you have a solid idea of how to help them, and for them to help you.
     
  • Get personal: a long term relationship will take more than just meeting someone a few times – take the time to learn about someone’s family, personal life, hobbies, children or grandchildren etc.  Knowing what type of wine or chocolate someone likes can make for the opportunity to thank them in a way they’ll appreciate when you receive that referral worth half a year’s business!

 

Long-term business relationships

Maintaining your business connections and working to solidifying those relationships can be helpful in taking your company to a whole new level of business:

  • Be a resource: Remember key facts and information when you connected with someone shows you take the time and make the effort to understand someone – use a CRM of planner to make notes.  Share social articles and business publications, ebooks and business books on topics that you know will help your network.
     
  • Mentor: If you found someone who is new to the networking aspect of business, take time to help them understand how to network better, we’re sure you wish someone had with you.  If you’re that new networker, seek out someone to help you!
     
  •  Connect someone: being that person who remembers your contacts when you hear their ‘trigger words’ can be extremely helpful.  If you hear someone complaining about the heat in their home, you surely know an HVAC guy or gal in your network?  Do you know several?  We do.  We have a few we can call on, one will do affordable installs, while the other is a master repairer, and can fix anything.  Ask if they’re looking to repair or replace and match the correct contractor and your referral has a better chance of success!

Whether you’re starting out networking, or an old-hand – we’re sure you’ll appreciate these reminders and will benefit from future NoCo Speed Networking blog articles – take a moment to share this article with someone you know who networks their business.  Sharing helpful articles with your network of contacts can also help you strengthen your network, it makes you a resource (see above)

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