Tips For Business Networking

November 20, 2013

Business, Marketing

business_networkingPeople used to say, “It’s all in who you know.” Today, although it means the same thing, the term isĀ business networking. This can now be done in person or easily on the internet. With that said, there are some key elements to business networking that you must follow in order to successfully make those connections.

Business cards are essential. You will always be asked for one and what if you don’t have any? That important connection may be gone forever. There are many companies in any metropolitan area that offer business cards in an hour. Make sure you know exactly what you want to say on them, but make it concise. A cluttered business card may show indecision on your part. An organized business card shows that you are organized and to the point.

Now you are all set to make a list of potential networking avenues. Checking the internet under the listings you’re looking for is an excellent way to make first contact or find where you can go in your area to network. Don’t go into your networking without this list or you might just be spinning your wheels and come up empty. You must also make sure you know your business inside and out to compete with any competition.

The next step is as a direct result of the first two steps. Growing your network. Remember that your first contact may yield very little, but to use another old idiom, “The squeaky wheel gets greased.” First meeting will set the pace as to how your contacts perceive you. Dress appropriately. If you want to give a sense of being a cowboy, then be a cowboy.

Building a good relationship takes time so be patient. Eventually these contacts will see you mean business. Set up meetings depending on your business. If you want to represent being casual then invite them to lunch. In other words set your style and go with it. Make sure, however, that you don’t spend too much time networking with people who do the same thing as you. These are your competitors. Look for those networking opportunities that bring you into contact with potential clients or customers. If you’re in a group introduce yourself to people you don’t know. The whole point of networking is meeting new people and not just preaching to the choir.

Being a good talker is important, but being a good listener is essential. Once you’ve broken the ice, make sure you know what makes your contacts tick. They will appreciate and remember you as someone who really cares. Remembering names is very important so work on the best way for you to overcome any problems you have with doing so. There are excellent memory exercises for just such help.

This last point may actually be the hardest, the follow-up. Make sure you take those connections you’ve made and immediately follow-up with them. There are so many avenues today to do this that it’s a sin not to do it as soon as you are back in the office or at home. What’s so hard about the follow-up? Many times people take the time to network, thinking they now have an in. They don’t take the immediate time to follow-up with something tangible like a simple email or even simply befriending contacts on Facebook, which many ridicule but is actually an excellent networking avenue. Even if your initial networking experience is through internet correspondence you need to use every avenue possible to stay in contact.

These are a few simple tips but everybody has their opinion on how to business network. Find what works best with you. If you’re ready to begin your networking then get out to a business cards in an hour location and get started.

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