There is a saying that it isn’t about what you know but who you know and that can definitely be true in business! If you’re a business owner, networking is something that you need to become proficient in as it is a great way of gaining new contacts which could lead to more work! This is easier said than done, however, and so these tips will help you when you’re meeting people and building up your network of contacts.
When trying to build contacts and relationships, it’s important to remember that you need to be giving before you can expect to receive. If you meet someone and immediately ask for something, all you’ll do is create a wall; the person in question won’t want to know and will be wary in future if you try and contact them. Instead what you need to be doing is building relationships. Know what your end goal is but seek out contacts who you can help, not just who can help you. You’ll then be creating a bridge with people and won’t be putting them off. At a later date you’ll be able to ask for what it is you want but because you went in casually with the focus on them, not yourself and your needs, they will be more inclined to help you and listen to what you want.
If there's someone specific that you'd like to build a relationship with, then do some digging. Get on social media and have a look round, see if you have any mutual colleagues or acquaintances who can get you that all important introduction.
When you are out an about, at a meeting or conference, the temptation may be to get the cards of as many people attending as possible. While this may seem like a good idea, all that will happen is you will enter all their data into your auto-responder and send the same email to them all. There’s a word for that. Spam! As in the first tip, you need to be focusing on relationships. Build a relationship with six people but do that over and over again repeating the same thing and don’t be tempted to meet everyone you can at a time without putting any effort into getting to know them. Do six things one thousand times and you’ll see massive results. Do one thousand things six times and you won’t get anywhere.
One final tip for this blog. FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP, FOLLOW UP!!!!! So you’ve made a new contact. Don’t just go back to the office and forget about them, make sure you follow up with them. Something as simple as sending a ‘nice to meet you’ email referencing the conversation you had shows that not only do you remember them and who they are but that you showed an interest in what they were saying and actually listened to them. In reality, what you did was write down a little synopsis of your conversation on the back of their business card after you parted ways!
So, if you need help networking then why not contact The Foundry and see how they can help you!