Business networking is an effective and essential skill for everybody, but especially for entrepreneurs.It has proven to be a low-cost marketing method for developing sales opportunities and contacts, based on referrals and introductions.
These are some tips and strategies to improve and extend your networking skills at your next event or when you get the opportunity.
- Business networking is a way for you to make the maxim, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know..” work for you.
- Express genuine interest in others. Don’t make the focus you.
- Ask what you can do for the other person.
- Prepare a 60 second pitch about your self which will generate interest from others – you need to have something to say to take part in the conversation.
- Don’t be afraid to walk up to and begin speaking with someone you do not know – “Just do it”
- Don’t just walk away from a conversation, excuse yourself.
- Always try to find ways to help the other person… listen between the lines!
- Ask open-ended questions, such as ones that start with “how” or “what”
- Introduce your conversation partner to someone you know who might be able to help them.
- People connect with stories/conversation, make your story count.
- If someone gives you an idea, lead, information, be sure to thank them and follow up.
- Ask interesting questions and offer thoughtful answers and opinions.
- Hold real conversations. Even if the opportunity you originally sought does not work out. Your continued conversations will keep you in the forferont.