Successful business networking builds strong relationships that are often beneficial to all parties involved. Consider the old saying: "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Business networking brings with it the advantage of recommendations and personal introductions, which can also lead to new business opportunities for you.
While establishing a strong network of contacts is essential, it isn't always easy. We've put together a list of tips will help you build valued connections.
The 7 Tips For Effective Business Networking Are:
Tip #1: Be Visible - There are more ways than ever to get your name out there. Joining social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter is a great way to begin creating a strong online presence. Use these sites to reach out to other professionals in your industry, not just people you already know. Post commentary or articles of interest, or publish a blog to promote your areas of expertise and provide updates on your achievements. Ask others in your "social groups" to recommend you and be sure to return the favor.
Click here for more on using LinkedIn to help build your networking connections.
Tip #2: Take The Focus Off Of Selling - People are more likely to do business with someone who they feel they've built a strong connection with. So don't think of networking events or groups as a way of gaining sales. Instead use these as opportunities to meet new people and begin building solid long-term relationships.
Tip #3: Plan Your Introduction - When you meet someone at a social event, you only have 10-20 seconds to make a first impression. Just as a resume is a great written tool to concisely describe your qualifications, it is as important to come up with a short introduction to use for social meetings. While keeping in mind less is more, make sure to tell your new contact your full name, what company you are with and your area of specialty. And be sure to smile and make eye contact while you are speaking to keep them engaged.
Tip #4: Ask Questions - Once you have introduced yourself, it's important to give your new contact a chance to share. Ending your introduction with a question enables more to happen. And asking specific questions shows that you are truly interested. Most people enjoy talking about themselves and will be glad to respond. This can be a great start to building good rapport.
Tip #5: Remember Names - A sure way to impress a contact who you have previously met is by remembering his or her name. People feel a personal connection with you when you refer to them by name. Upon first meeting, use your new contact's name often throughout your conversation. This will help you to remember the name in the future and will also make a positive impression.
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