For networking to really be effective, you have to get people to know, like and trust you. Now, none of that happens overnight, and will take consistent effort on your part – but how exactly do you go about that?
Here our Chair, Lu Etchells from Time Saving Heroes, shares the tips she’s picked up along the way from being a member of BBG.
- If you want people to know what you do, can offer and what you’re about, make sure you can explain it easily. If you can’t, how do you expect them to understand it and pass on the message?
- Be specific – rather than just asking for anything, ask for something really clear. For example, don’t just say “one-man bands”, ask for specific industries, perhaps you even have a particular client in mind, in which case, ask for an introduction to that particular business or individual.
- Explain how people can recognise someone that could benefit from your services. Demonstrate what your ideal clients struggle with, what their pressure points, are how to identify them.
- Make sure your literature is clear – do your business cards, or leaflets clearly show who you are, what you do and what you want? Do it demonstrate the benefits your product or service brings?
- Help others first. The most effective and productive networkers are those who help other people first. Give out referrals, pass on business, take time to talk and advise others and you will be the sort of person other people want to come to.
- Never criticise others – don’t put other people down and don’t be negative. You don’t have to like everyone, but don’t bad mouth them.
- Provide written and verbal testimonials, or case studies to showcase what you’ve done, how you’ve done and what impact it’s had on others.
- Be supportive when people ask you for help. Get involved with other people and genuine care.
- Be authentic. Never be someone you’re not, and don’t feel pressured to behave a certain way because someone else expects that of you. Know your views, branding, values and stand by them.
- Deliver what you say you will, when you say you will. Always aim to exceed expectations.
- Be consistent. Show up every meeting, prepared to do all the above, and people will know you take them, your business and your work seriously.