Elaine Hollerhead is an experienced and award-winning networker who has successfully grown her business through membership and consistent attendance at various Business Networks. Elaine shared some insightful networking strategies at Bristol Business Dinner event recently. Here is an overview
Networking is potentially the best and most effective tool in your business toolbox – it is an art, but one that can with practice be easily learnt. It encompasses face to face meetings and social media activities, so it is a 24-hour 7 day per week 365 day per year opportunity to acquire contacts for yourself and others.
Networking is a relational and reciprocal activity ... it is not a sales platform! Network not just to receive help, but to give help too! You want to be remembered .... be friendly and hold back from always talking about your business. You are your business and within 20 seconds people will decide if they like YOU .... and within 1 min decide whether you are a good contact! 99% people who’ve only met you for a minute will not buy from you which is why it’s about building a relationship, as people have their personal and professional reputation to maintain! Effective networking can be the life blood of your business
HOW TO NETWORK LIKE A PRO – PRE-MEETING
Plan your strategy
Try to obtain a list of who will be present
Allocate a timeframe for speaking to each person
Decide what to wear – dress to reflect your business
HOW TO NETWORK LIKE A PRO – AT THE MEETING
On entering the room, or when being introduced – RELAX and SMILE
Shake hands – offer your hand first and look directly at the recipient
Make sure your handshake is firm (not weak or bone crushing)
Introduce yourself by name – NOT your business name
If the person is hesitant ask them their name
Then small talk (easy topic such as the weather/traffic/early start/how far have they travelled/do they attend regularly etc)
Listen ATTENTIVELY and maintain eye contact
Ask them what they do
Allow only a couple of sentences - an effective way to break the torrent, is to say “that sounds really interesting …” and then divert the conversation back to you
If they do not ask, name your business and describe it in a few sentences
By now you will know if they are a suitable prospect so you can add on “It seems our companies have a mutual synergy WE MAY BE ABLE TO HELP EACHOTHER, would you like to arrange a 121”
Hopefully they agree, so exchange business cards / contact details
Decide who will arrange the 121 and timeframe for contact
Revert to small talk
HOW TO NETWORK LIKE A PRO – AFTER THE MEETING
Follow up any agreed 121’s asap or actions!
Contact other identified prospects email, telephone or on Linked In (always send a personal short message)
Please note on Linked in – when asking to join someone’s network never just click on the ‘connect’ button, but just send a short message to say why you’d like to connect, such as mutual synergy, recently met at an event .. etc!
We hope these strategies have been helpful, I’m sure you may have more of your own but do put them to use next time you network.
For a list of upcoming dates visit our Training Kings events page!
All the very best
Training Kings Leader