Networking like You Mean It

Want to build your network? Here are some quick tips:

Show up! Attend at least two networking events a month. Make sure the people there are those you need to meet, otherwise you’re wasting time. Example if you want to meet prospects to buy your industrial widgets, attending a garden club meeting doesn’t count. Attend if you enjoy the club, but don’t kid yourself.

Don’t hang out with those you already know. If you stand to the side talking with your spouse (co-worker, friend, etc.) for the entire event, you didn’t network.

Have a goal. Meet three new people or talk with Prospect X. This will help you stay focused.

LISTEN! Ask questions and get to know the person you are speaking with. You may be surprised at who they know or what alliances you can create. DO NOT constantly look around looking for someone more important to talk to.

Have an interesting opening. Rather than saying, “I’m Tom, I sell tires.” Tom could say, “I’m Tom, I help people get where they need to go.” Once you have their attention, tell them about your product or service in a succinct but interesting way. If you rehearse this and it bores you, you’ve got work to do.

SMILE! People want to deal with the living, not the walking dead. Look like you’re somebody fun to be around!

If you don’t really want to go, stay home. Successful networking is not for the faint of heart. Go home, get some rest, and live to fight another day.

FOLLOW-UP! This is very, very, very important. Write reminders on the back of the business cards you’ve collected (ex. great smile, knows Prospect Z). Send out follow-up notes the next day. Be the one to make the calls for those lunches you promised to do. Make things happen. This is where the champions come through.

Here’s a secret about networking (and about relationships in general) – people are scared. We all want to stay in our comfort zones, and we don’t want to risk rejection. So that great contact you made at the last event who never called you for lunch didn’t necessarily not like you. He or she might simply be a little nervous. You want to get to know them better? Make the call. You won’t always get a yes, but I can guarantee you’ll have more lunch plans and interesting meetings than all those people sitting in their offices waiting for their phones to ring. No one is coming – you gotta go out there and get ‘em!



P.O. Box 31692
Raleigh, NC 27622
Phone 919.788.0291
info@firestarspeaking.com


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