Hate Networking Events And Want To Know How To Network Confidently?
As a small business coach and consultant I started my business having only ever experienced what I know now to be very poor networking that was industry specific and did not teach you how to create valuable relationships with others.
I have attended 100’s of networking events (probably 1000’s if I am honest) and as a natural introvert I have found a majority of them to be draining, a waste of time, sales focused (when it wasn’t appropriate), filled with people who don’t know how to network (or sometimes even hold a conversation) and more. For a time it put me off networking and I began to think that there was something missing.
It was then I considered “how to network confidently” and changed my attitude to networking.
Since then I have seen and experienced time and time again the power of what I call relationship driven networking. Understanding that trust is the currency of business underpins this style of networking.
It is about building genuine relationships with others, not focusing on collecting leads.
Here are 3 simple steps to follow to improve your networking and ensure it is professional and respectful
How To Network Confidently In 3 Steps
1. Be clear about who you want to meet at an event
If you don’t know the name of an individual then understand the type of person you want to meet and don’t just focus on your ideal client.
Instead aim to meet people who know your ideal client and can make introductions. This is more powerful than just going into a room and trying to “hunt” down your ideal client. It is also critical if you are going to learn how to network confidently.
If you don’t know someone but would like to meet them and you’re not feeling very confident about making an introduction, or they are busy talking to someone else or a group of people see if you can find someone you know, or even the event host, and ask if they can introduce you.
If you haven’t had a chance to meet the “right” people for you at the event then contact the host after and ask if they could make an introduction for you via email. As I always say “If you don’t ask the answer is always no”!
2. Make a time to meet with your new contact outside of the event
This is about extending the depth of the relationship so you can get to know someone better.
During this meeting ask questions, be genuinely interested and consider how and if you can help them.
Don’t simply focus on your own products and services. Think about others in your valuable network you could introduce them to and how you can add value. This is critical when learning how to network confidently.Remember, as the founder of the worlds biggest and most successful business networking organisation, Dr Ivan Misner famously said “givers gain”!
A last point I want to make here….don’t fill your week with coffee meetings!
Dedicate time to do these meetings so that they have boundaries and support you to achieve what you want each week. I set aside a couple of hours each week, usually on the same day and make that my “coffee catch up time.”
I am very strict about adhering to this time, even if it means I have to book meetings weeks in advance to ensure I can meet with someone.
If I don’t have a coffee meeting (which I consider a relationship building opportunity) then I use that time to work on my business, something a majority of small business owners struggle to find or make time to do each week.
3. Follow up
I don’t know how many events I go to where no-one ever follows up (or the follow-up is really poor or filled with sales pitches)!
If you get someone’s business card and say you will email or call then do it! Take this action in the first 48 hours after the event while they still remember your conversation. This is a key part of learning how to network confidently.
The big key here is to ensure your follow up is sales free. There is nothing worse than meeting someone who then follows you up with a big email trying to sell you something.
You don’t even have a relationship with them yet, nor do you know what they are looking for. It is better to make a time to meet with them to get to know them better. You may end up talking about business but the objective is to get to know one another better.
Be focused on extending your network and being someone who is able to connect others with the intention of helping others, not on collecting leads. This is something really important to remember when learning how to network confidently.
Until next time…. happy networking!
Wishing you abundant effortless success,
Want to learn how to really market your business? It is about learning how to network confidently. That’s a key step, but it is really about learning how to
2. Make more conversions
3. Create more transactions
4. Charge the right prices and
5. Increase your profits
As a value add to my coaching services I offer small business owners the opportunity to access an incredibly powerful e-learning business building and marketing system. You can find out more and get started with our free video training series The 3 Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes Small Businesses Make… And How To Overcome Them All. Get access to this training and begin transforming your business here