Top 5 Tips to Network Effectively

26.12.23 05:58 PM Comment(s)

There are a few steps to networking effectively.  These five are my top tips for getting off to the right start.  There are also many books on the subject that you can read to find the ideas that you are most comfortable with.

1. Choose the right groups and be open minded.  The groups you join do not have to be filled with your ideal prospect, they only have to be filled with people who know your ideal prospects and clients or customers. Remember, you are not selling at these networking groups, you are creating relationships.  Those relationships are what will, over time, create your stream of leads.

In creating those relationships be open minded, you really don't know who will know the person that will skyrocket your business to the next level. Don't assume that because you do not need that person's services that it is not worth getting to know them.  I do not at this very moment need title insurance, but I know a great networker who is in the title insurance business and he networks with one of my ideal target markets. You get the idea. This brings me to my second tip.

2. Remember it is not about you.  No one really cares what you do, they want to know what is in it for them.  To be successful as a networker you need to make it about the other person - what can you do for them.  There are many things that you can do for someone beyond buying their product or service.  In fact, if you become a customer or client you are only one, but if you introduce your networking contact to many people who can use their services or products you have now become a vital part of your contact's business-lead funnel. 

Among the many things that you can do to keep it about the other person besides introductions, is to send them links to articles of value to them and their business.  By sending them the information you are adding value to the relationship.

All of my final three tips revolve around one of the most important parts to successful networking - a follow-up system. Many people attend networking events or receive introductions and then they never follow-up.  Without following up it is almost as if you never met that person. Certainly you cannot expect to receive referrals from them.

3. Follow-up by Snail Mail. When you meet someone at a networking event or even through an introduction take a few minutes to drop that person a personal note, (of course they have to have an address on their business card). Some networking experts like Bob Burg recommend a specific format note card.  I have read from others like Ivan Misner that they suggest Send Out Cards, something that I personally do not like, but it is a solution.

As for me, I have found that writing a quick note on the top sheet of a 3 x 4 25 sheet Post-it note pad and inserting that into an envelope as if it were a note card, is the most effective.  I have been doing this for years, and I almost always get some kind of response.  It may not be immediate, but it is always remembered. It is so effective that I have even gotten orders from recipients of my notes for the same Post-it pads.

If they do not have an address on their business cards then you can always follow up with an email.  I always try to do a little bit of detective work first so that if there is an address to be found, I use it. If I cannot hunt down an address than an email will do the trick and further the conversation.

4. Follow-up by connecting on LinkedIn. In today's online digital world you can add staying in touch by connecting on LinkedIn to your tool bag.  This is a great way to share content and maintain a connection.  By using LinkedIn properly, you can use the information that you find there to make consistent contact of value.  You will know when the person changes jobs - a chance to congratulate or help them find a new oneor both. You can discover when they are completing a large project or looking for information.  All of these pieces of knowledge can give you opportunities to stay in touch.

5. Follow-up over coffee.  This coffee follow up can be in person or virtual, but the more of them that you have the more you will broaden your connections and the sooner you will have added to your own lead funnel.

Of course to create this follow up system, you need to have a tool for tracking all of these leads and networking connections.  It is also good to have a way of tracking the introductions that you are going to make and other tasks for better networking. 

For larger companies there are many options such as, Pipedrive, ZOHO and more, but for the small business owner, and even senior level executive at Fortune 100's while not ideal, you can even use an Excel spreadsheet.

By choosing the right networking opportunities and following up consistently, you will find success in creating a stream of leads.