Networking - How To Do It
Networking is probably the oldest, easiest, most effectiveand least expensive way to get more business. Itdoesn't necessarily involve selling your product or servicebut it does mean selling yourself. However, that doesn'tinvolve a lot of talking - it does involve a lot oflistening.
Networking is about making connections with people andbuilding a network of meaningful relationships.
Having good relationships means - these people will eitherdo business with you and/or recommend you to others.These people are your unpaid sales-force and you've got toensure that they do a good job.
Here are 9 steps to successful networking:
#1 Be prepared - Particularly if you're attending a formalnetworking event like the Chamber of Commerce.
#2 Think about whom you'll be meeting - Consider what youropening remarks or questions will be. And think about whatyou're going to say when they question you.
#3 Make sure you have lots of business cards, a smallnotebook, and a pen - These should be easily accessible andnot involve a rummage through pockets or a bag to find them.
Reminder - NEVER go anywhere without business cards
#4 You don't necessarily need brochures - These can be sentwhen you follow up later. A networking event is not a placeto sell your product or service. (This is not understood bythe people who have bored the pants off me over the years)
#5 Think about what you're going to wear - I've seen peoplerush into a networking event in clothes that look likethey've been slept in.
If it means having a change of clothes in the office orgoing home to freshen up - then do it. Remember, the imageyou present to other people is the image they'll have ofyour business.
Men should wear a bright tie (not cheap) and women shouldwear something bright. Remember, however - business dress,not sexy.
#6 Personal hygiene - Brush your teeth or use a breathfreshener. I've met people at networking events whose breathwould bring down a rhino at fifty feet. Avoid drinking wineor coffee; they can make your breath sour. Stick to mineralwater or a soft drink.
#7 Watch out for the perfume - Both men and women, strongscents can be overpowering.
#8 Name badges - They'll probably hand these out at theevent, however consider having your own produced. They'renot expensive to produce and it means you can ensure thatwhat's on the badge is what you want. (Conference organisersoften get the details wrong on name badges) Pin the badgeonyour right lapel - it's easier for people to read. The majority of people shake hands with their right hand. Asyou lean forward to shake hands, it means that the otherperson can read your badge easier.
#9 Go with a partner - Take a friend or one of your team toa networking event. While you're there, alternately separateand come together. When you see your partner with someoneora group, walk up and let your partner introduce you. Yourpartner will introduce you using a pre-agreed benefitstatement. Something like - "This is my friend Mary Smith -she helps business people find more customers by improvingtheir networking skills." It's then easier for you to makemore contacts.
Discover how you can generate more business without havingto cold call!Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Saleswithout Selling". This book is packed with practical thingsthat you can do to get customers to come to you!
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