Business networking is a booming industry. It is certainly a comfortable and natural way to generate referrals and potential sales opportunities. Ironically, attending with the intent of creating business can sabotage your efforts. If attendees smell your neediness, it will turn them away from you. Today I will share with you three mental shifts that will help you network like a pro:
How to Network Like a Pro #1: Foster an attitude of giving
A very high percentage of people at networking functions are there to find new business. Rather than blending in, you can differentiate yourself by adopting a giving attitude. Focus on how you can give referrals and connect others to each other. Offer to be a guest speaker to share your expertise for no charge. These actions will make you a much more appealing person to converse with. Furthermore, other professionals will feel much more comfortable passing referrals to a person of good character. Your unique selling proposition will be your generosity.
How to Network Like a Pro #2: Think relationships, not transactions
Networking is for building long-term professional relationships. You may find people who want to do business with you immediately, but you should not expect it to be this way. People do business with those that they know, like, and trust, and trust is built over time. If you approach networking functions with the mindset of building relationships, it will reduce your neediness. Another consequence of this mentality is that you will attend the same networking function regularly, becoming a friendly and familiar face in that community.
How to Network Like a Pro #3: Follow up
Look at the pile of business cards on your desk (or in the bin). What value do they carry? Having contact details means nothing if you do not connect with the people that gave it to you. My tip for you is to book a coffee with every person that resonated with you, whether there are immediate opportunities or not. When I say “resonated,” I mean people that you have a good feeling about. Our intuition is a good gauge for creating quality connections. Continue nurturing the relationships with those you have good chemistry with, and you will find ways to do business with each other!
Networking should be an enjoyable experience. You can achieve this through fostering a giving attitude, nurturing relationships, and following up. By delaying your own gratification, you will paradoxically speed up sales opportunities. Happy networking!
If you enjoyed this article, click ‘like,’ leave a comment, or share it with others!
Filmed in Chadstone, Melbourne