Networking is hands down one of the best ways to grow your business. But it scared the heck out of me to begin with so it’s something I’ve had to work at becoming great at, here’s 3 ways to turbo charge your results from it:
1. Don’t Sell on Hello
Unless you’re taking part in an event where you’re meant to be selling, don’t open with trying to sell the person you’re talking to. First build rapport with the other person, find out what makes them tick, why they’re at the networking event and what they do.
Often people are like I was and terrified of networking so be bold and make the first move and start conversations with other people at the event; don’t sit on the sidelines, take action!
Interesting people are interested, so take a genuine interest in the people you meet, find out about them personally as well as what they do professionally.
2. How Can You Help
As part of the conversation find out how you can help that person. It may be that they’re looking for a particular product or service, or maybe they need to know the best West Coast beach to take photos on – I love meeting other photographers because it’s one of my favourite hobbies.
Again this is not focused on selling – it may be that they DO need what you have to offer, but first and foremost focus on what they’re looking for and aim to help them move forward on that project.
This may be connecting them with someone in your network, it may be recommending a holiday location, or it may be something that you offer.
3. Follow Up
The last part of turbo charging your results from networking is to follow up AFTER the event.
When you connect and meet once off at a networking event, it is only one time to connect, add value and create impact for that person. When you follow up and connect with them afterwards you have an opportunity to build an ongoing relationship, and to build a long term valuable connection.
If you discovered something they need this is the time to deliver what you promised and make that connection. I write a note on people’s cards, or in my phone to make sure I follow through on what I’ve said I’ll do.
Even when you don’t have something specific to follow up with – you don’t always find something that someone needs that you can help with – you still should connect with people and aim to create a longer term connection where you can stay in touch with them. Here’s two specific examples of how to do this:
Example 1: Business to Consumer (B2C)
Take a business that sells an organic skin care range, that uses all natural ingredients. Follow up for this business would be an email out to the connection with anything that they asked to see (e.g. show me your range of bath salts) but also aiming to create a long term connection.
This could be inviting them to follow you on Facebook or Instagram, but make sure you give them a reason WHY. Is it for the events you run, special offers, new products, why should they follow you?
Equally you should also invite them to your email database, do this using a Lead Magnet. Something giving them a benefit in return for opting in, it could be a free report or a video series, in this example it could be a free report on 7 ways to use herbs and natural remedies to have more energy and radiant beauty.
Example 2: Business to Business (B2B)
Take a business that does marketing outsourcing for small business owners. Follow up for this business would start with connecting on LinkedIn. This enables you both to have a better idea of your networks and who you can both connect each other to, it also means if you’re publishing articles or updates on LinkedIn this new connection will see these.
Again you want to offer them something to become a long term connection and be on your database as well. You might have a free report on the 7 Small Business Marketing Sins that they can opt in to receive.
As with the first example if there was anything you identified that you can help them with, you want to make sure that your follow up includes this help as you promised. Following through is so crucial and helps to add value for the people that you’ve met and makes it much more likely for them to opt in, buy and refer you.
Putting it into Practice
All of this only works if you put it into practice. If you’d like an opportunity to ramp up your networking then check out our upcoming amazing business events.