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4 Tips To Network More Effectively
  • By Emily Davenport
  • /
  • Wednesday, April 5th, 2017
  • /
  • 02:17 PM UTC

The importance of networking for a business professional can hardly be overstated.

As a professional yourself, you may already know that to engage in the process effectively, you need to get out of your office and meet people -- for instance, at a local chamber or industry association meeting.

Tips To Network More Effectively:

1.  Ask People Questions - People like it when you show a sincere interest in them.  With that in mind, make a point of asking questions of the people you meet.   What questions can you ask?  Here are a few you can try at your next networking event (write them down on a small card and read them to yourself ahead of time):

  • "What is your name?"
  • "What line of work are you in?"
  • "Do you own the company?" (Never assume that people are at the low end of their company.)
  • "Where are you located?"
  • "What made you start your own company?" or "How long have you been working for this company?"
  • "What type of person would be a good prospect for you?" (Once you ask this question, you will be shocked at the positive effect this will have on the conversation.)
  • Ask everyone for a business card and his/her permission to follow up with them at a later date.

2.  If People Like You, You Will Have A Better Chance Of Making Sales - You do not have to "sell" yourself to make networking work for you.  By itself, networking is one of the best tools in your arsenal for increasing your field of influence, which in turn will help promote what you sell.  Moreover, the reality of business is that people buy from (and recommend) individuals they like and trust.  To facilitate this bond, cultivate genuine interest in the people you connect with.

3.  Remember To Follow Up - Get out a pen and write down on everyone's business card some key information about them.  When you get back to the office, enter their names in a CRM tool so you can keep track of these people electronically.  This will save time later on when you need to send them electronic newsletters or direct-mail campaigns.   Also, send a handwritten "thank you for your time" card as this is an excellent way to separate yourself from the competition.  Plus, it goes a long way in building credibility with someone.

4.  When You Are Networking, You're Not Selling - One of the biggest mistakes people make when they network is trying to sell to someone (this happens whether or not they are showing buying signals). This is the last thing you should do.  Don't talk about how great you are or why someone should buy from you.  Just have a general one to two sentence overview of what you do and the type of people you work with.

Executive Summary: As a professional, no doubt you are well-versed in the importance of networking to your success.  However, just meeting people isn't enough.  Learn to show interest and be proactive in your follow-up, and you will begin to see better results from your networking.