Networking has become an essential part of our company’s marketing mix. Thankfully, the old-fashioned hard sell has gone out of the window, and a more ‘relationship-focused’ approach is favourable.
For those new to networking, it’s merely an accelerated version of word of mouth marketing, so for many, it’s easier to network with a room full of strangers, than to use other conventional marketing methods (i.e. cold calling).
But relationships take time, and people need to establish an element of trust before referring you to their best contacts.
So, here are our five essential tips to effective networking:
1. Be specific. Ask fellow networkers for an introduction to a particular department, or industry, or location. If possible, name the company. People will find it easier to spot opportunities for you if they know what to look for. If you’re struggling for inspiration, carry out a LinkedIn search beforehand or note down companies you drive by on the way to the meeting.
2. Meeting Etiquette. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and networking is no exception. If you wouldn’t do it in a typical meeting, then don’t do it while networking. So leave your mobile phone alone.
3. Follow up. Many people will complain that they don’t get anything out of networking. Very rarely will any orders just fall in your lap so don’t expect it to happen whilst networking either. It takes time and hard work. When you arrive back in the office, ensure you do something with the information you’ve gained.
4. Lend a hand. Get involved with the group and help out. This will give you the chance to work with members that you may not think you have any synergy with – but you’ll be surprised.
5. Prepare & set goals. Even if its two minutes in the car on the way to the venue, if you plan ahead, you’ll spend less time thinking about what you’re going to say and more time listening and making the most out of the networking meeting.
If you’re new to networking or a seasoned professional, why not visit a Derby Hub meeting?
If you’d like to join us for the next event but need a business buddy, send us a message. We’d be delighted to accompany you.
Did you enjoy this blog? You may also like “Networking – Be Stirred, Not Shaken”.