Networking with other people in your field can be a daunting prospect. Meeting someone in a formal setting and having to sell who you are and what you do can be tough. Networking is important for businesses and professionals – it can help get you a better job or more clients. It can be especially important for small businesses as it lets people know who they are through word of mouth. These five networking tips will help you improve your business profile:
Networking Goes Both Ways
It can be tempting to lay all the information about you and your business on to the other person. However, it is important to let the other person tell you about themselves as well. Once you have listened to what they have to say start telling them the basics – who you are, who you work for and what your position is etc. Once this is done then you should start asking them more complex questions in order to see if they are fit for you. Ask them questions such as:
- What products/services do you offer?
- What clients do you have?
- Who is the decision maker at your company?
- How do you differ from your competition?
This sort of information will help with the next networking tip.
You may want to network with every single possible person that is in your field. This is impossible. The most effective way to optimise networking is to prioritise certain people over others. You should evaluate what they can do for you. Look for people that are going to solve problems for you and don’t get swayed by people that you have a good relationship if they are not a good fit. It may also be an idea to look at people you have known from the past (such as in high school or university) and see if they can be of any use to you in a professional capacity.
Get Yourself Out There
One of the best ways to network is by participating in activities. This gives you the chance to meet new people and start to develop relationships with them. You can also find out where people in your field spend their spare time and visit, they will be much more relaxed and friendly than in a work environment. Another tip is to visit fundraisers. These are usually attended by people from businesses etc. as a way of showing corporate social responsibility.
Get That Second Meeting
If you are talking to someone and you get the feeling that they are a good fit for you and your company don’t be afraid to ask them if they would like to meet again. This shows them that you are proactive.
Use Social Media Effectively
Using social media is vitally important in this day and age but you don’t want to overdo it. Getting out and about and meeting people face to face is good for business. You can, however, use social media to do research on someone if you are going to meet them. Some background information will mean that you have conversation starters and have an idea of what they will be interested in.