10 Tips for Networking Effectively
Once you have chosen and joined your networking groups, you are on the road to building a strong prospect list. But joining is only the first step towards making that group work for you. It is important to effectively “work your group” to build relationships, get referrals, grow your prospect list, and ultimately gain more clients that will result in repeat business. Let us share with you 10 tips on how to effectively utilize your time at any networking event.
1. Obtain a membership roster.
When you join a networking group, try to obtain a roster of all the members and their email addresses. This way, you can email a letter of introduction to the members and also share with them your desire to get to know them and their businesses. You can also use this opportunity to gain permission to put them on your email list to receive your monthly agency newsletter.
2. Develop quality relationships.
Think quality not quantity. In other words, attending a networking event and coming back with 50 business cards really doesn’t do anything for your business. All you have is 50 business cards. However, attending the same networking group and coming back with 5 business cards, from individuals with whom you spent time, got to know, and began building the foundation of a relationship, is far more effective. Remember you are not attending a networking meeting to just sit or eat. You are there to get to know others.
3. Learn something about each person you meet.
Remember to also add those key people that you spent time with at these events to your ongoing prospect list. Also, send an email to those with whom you spent time. Try to include something personal in the email to jog their memory or trigger a connection with that new prospect and again build upon this new relationship.
4. Be an active participant.
Never miss a scheduled meeting or event. If you join a networking group, be sure to always be an active participant. And if you need to miss a meeting or event, always be sure to send a substitute in your place so you still have exposure.
5. Meet someone new.
At each scheduled networking luncheon and/or meeting, try to sit with someone new so you will put yourself in a position to get to know more people within your group.
6. Take on leadership roles.
Accept and apply for leadership roles within the organization. By doing so, you will not only increase your exposure, you will also gain respect from fellow members and build new relationships.
7. Support other members’ businesses.
Think about giving back to the other members. In other words, don’t let this be “all about you” and your business. Learn about other members’ businesses and strategize how you may be able to bring business back to them. It all goes back to the old adage…give and you shall receive!
8. Sell yourself.
Develop, memorize and practice your 60-second commercial, or elevator pitch. When you have the opportunity to stand up and introduce yourself, be prepared to sell yourself and the advantages of doing business with you.
9. Make a good first impression.
Are you memorable? First impressions can be lasting impressions. Think about how you dress and appear to others. Be professional, outgoing, and be prepared to step up when the opportunity arises and “sell yourself” to others. Remember people do business with people whom they like.
10. Be prepared.
Be prepared. Make sure you have plenty of business cards, your agency flyer, and your monthly newsletter to hand out at every meeting.
Putting these steps into practice will help expand your business within your community and enhance your professional networking skills.