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Change Your Approach To Networking: Be more productive and experience a favorable outcome by following these best practices.

Change Your Approach To Networking: Be more productive and experience a favorable outcome by following these best practices.

Networking is one of the keys to the success of most small to medium size businesses. Getting to know someone in person instead of just by email or word of mouth marketing can make a huge impact...especially in the B2B world. It’s also probably the toughest marketing activity for many people. And because of that, so many struggle, do it wrong, and sometimes even give up. 

Networking can be a rewarding experience if done well. Even long time networkers can use a refresher from time to time. The trick is to develop a plan that will lead to building strong relationships which will then lead to referrals and new business. MarketShare has put together a list of networking tips to use at your next networking events:

  1. Be more concerned about learning about other people than talking about yourself. You should absolutely be able to communicate what you do quickly and effectively but being genuinely curious about someone else will make them feel good and it will help you learn how you might be able to help them. Even if they forget what you do, they won’t forget how you made them feel! You can always explain what you do to them again.
  2. When you meet someone interesting, don’t wait a few days to follow up with them. Tell them at that moment that you would like to schedule another time to get to know them better and contact them within 24 hours to do so. A one-to-one meeting is a great way to solidify a new business relationship. 
  3. Don’t get stuck! It’s probably the most common mistake people make while networking. Don't stand in one spot - circulate around the room to get a chance to mingle with several different people who are attending. If someone is chewing your ear off simply say, “It’s been great talking. I’m going to introduce myself to and learn about a few more people here.”
  4. If you find yourself standing outside of circles that have already formed, look for someone else that is on his or her own and introduce yourself. You’re always better off talking to one or two people that you don’t know than standing in a circle of people you do know.
  5. Networking and card collecting are very, very different. Walking out with 3 or 4 cards from people that you want to meet with again is always a better outcome than leaving with 40 cards of people who you have no interest in.
  6. Always ask people you have met who they are interested in meeting. Make it your goal to be able to make an introduction or provide a referral to people you meet, like, and trust. They will do the same for you!
  7. You could be a great networker but attending the wrong events will hinder your outcome. Create criteria for yourself so that your efforts are concentrated and productive by researching the program and organization hosting to make sure the event will be a good source of prospective clients or referral partners.

After following these guidelines for a few months, we know that you’ll see positive results. Join us at one of our BizCircles events and let us know how you do!