Are you a total networking newbie or a Networking Ninja?

Networking is a fantastic way of generating leads for your business – but as with everything it takes a little practice and work to get it right after all its called netWORKING

Heres a few tips to get the most out of your networking activity

1. Make sure its an event that your ideal clients would be attending
There’ s little point turning up to every networking event – you need to work out only those events where your ideal client is likely to be attending and focus on those.

2. Be prepared
Don’t be late – if there is no particular agenda for the meeting then its advisable to turn up slightly early. This way it’s not so daunting going into a room full of people – and if its a well-hosted event the organiser will be able to introduce you to the other early birds.

Make sure you know the format of the event – all events are different – if you are going to be expected to make a 60-second speech then make sure you have one prepared!

Make sure you have the networking essentials – pen, pad and of course business cards or literature!

3. Switch your phone off!
I know !-How radical is that!!
Let’s face it  – a phone is very often a useful crutch – we can pretend we are busy on our phones instead of forcing ourselves to actually talk to the people in the room!

And how rude is it when you are mid-conversation and someone’s phone rings and they answer it!!  You may as well just say “sorry, this person on the phone is far more important than you!”  If it’s switched off – it can’t ring and you won’t be in that predicament!

4. Have a target
It easy to come away from a networking group feeling that it was a bit of a waste of time…but if you have set yourself targets to meet – it all becomes a lot more strategic! Decide on how many new people you are going to commit to meeting, or if your aim is to get a further meeting, how many appointments. Decide on the purpose of the networking to you and create your targets accordingly.

5. People buy from people
Be interested in other people businesses and themselves as people not as just a potential customer!
If you have an interesting conversation it’s much easier to follow up with them afterwards – for a start they should remember who you are!

6 . Follow up
So many people attend a meeting and then ..well that’s it..
If you’ve got someone’s business card then send them an email    not a sales email but an “It was nice to meet you” email.
Ask to connect on linkedin  and if appropriate arrange a further meeting to discuss your businesses and how you might be able to help each other.

7. Be a regular visitor
Don’t expect to get business on your first outing – it  takes time to build up a relationship with people

I’ve often heard business people say “ Oh networking doesn’t work for me”! Turns out they’ve been to about two events,  didn’t get any work and therefore dismissed it.

Focus on just a couple of events and attend them regularly rather than the scatter gun approach of attending lots of different ones only once!
Let me let you into a secret….networking works…but only if you know how to do it and work at it!!

8. Don’t overdo it!
Don’t be one of those people that is ALWAYS networking…get the right balance otherwise people might actually start wondering when you do any work…or even if you have any work! Unless of course you have lots of people that work for you leaving you free to mingle! In which case fill your boots!

9. Dress for the occasion and your job
Don’t fall into the mistake of thinking all networking is suit and ties – it really depends on the style of the networking event. If you are a tradesman there is no harm in turning up in your work clothes ( Branded of course!).

So – how many of these tips do you already do?

Why not find out what type of networking you are by taking our networking quiz!

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