Networking is one of the most effective ways to find sales prospects and to increase sales. That being said, there are clear things that we can do to be more effective networkers and below are some business networking tips.
The first networking tip is to be open to who you approach and invest time talking to at networking events. First, you can’t judge a book by its cover so just because someone does not look like a potential prospect, they very well could be. Even if someone is confirmed to not fit your ideal prospect profile, you never know when someone might know someone and when they could help connect you with someone that does fit the profile that you are looking for.
To take that thought one step further, it can help to look for contacts as opposed to prospects when networking. At the end of the day, we are all looking to increase sales and find prospects. But if we focus on looking for people who can help us to find prospects, we not only stand to achieve more, we can present ourselves better to the people that we interact with.
Focus on Learning About Them
As soon as you begin talking to someone either at a networking event or at a scheduled meet up, try to make a conscious effort to get the first part of the conversation about them. You can do this by asking questions that focus on helping you to learn about who they are and what they are doing from a business standpoint.
This is one of the business networking tips that uses the concept of reciprocation and can be very powerful for two key reasons. First, it will lower the other person’s guard as they will feel like you are not trying to sell anything because you are putting so much attention on them. Secondly, you are investing time and interest on them and this can help to motivate them to want to invest time and interest on you to return the favor. These two factors combined can establish a foundation of rapport that the both of you can build and strong networking relationship on.
Discuss Their Business
If you are following these business networking tips in order, at this point you have identified what the other person does. Dig deeper to discuss their business in more detail. Ask them how business is, what is working, what is not, what their strategy is. etc. Once you feel like you have covered all bases, ask them how you can help them.
Give a Brief Value Statement
One of the important business networking tips is to be able to provide a very brief value statement when they ask you what you do. A value statement is brief, yet powerful statement or explanation on how you help your clients.
Schedule a Future Discussion
If there is any hint that the person you are talking to can bring value to your network, work to tee up a future discussion. If you are briefly talking at a networking event, it can be beneficial to avoid getting into too deep of a conversation and saving that for a meeting over a cup of coffee.
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