By Tamera Shaw
Everyone networks, whether in person or online. But how do you get the best out of your time?
Is it the elevator pitch, the soft sell or something that goes contrary to the sales instinct – learning who’s in the room and what they want and need and getting to know the power brokers in the “room.”
The important thing is to connect other people to each other and to connect yourself with a great connector.
Here are some tips for connecting:
• Connect – Introduce two people to each other and you’ll find yourself in a power position.
• Show Up Early – Meet the event organizers. They have powerful connections.
• Wait – when you’re talking to someone, don’t try to sell them. Find out first what their needs are and if they’re interested. Talk to them after the meeting or the next time you see them.
• Leave everyone with an impression – make sure your business card is unique. If your agency doesn’t have memorable cards, make up your own for networking.
• Set goals – decide to give out a certain number of cards or attend a certain amount of meetings.
• Follow up – develop strong relationships and check in just to say “hi.”
• Social media – use it to follow up or to “like” the prospect or their business.
• Phone or email – communicate afterward and ask about their business instead of selling them on yours. Again, don’t try to sell.
• Remember names – repeat them as much as you have to.
• Talk to outliers – shy people shrink into the background. Find one, talk to them and introduce them around the room. They will be grateful.
• Make notes – use a prospect’s business card to write notes about them and their business for a follow-up call.
• Find the power brokers in the room – identify strong connectors that you want to get to know who can introduce you to great prospects.
• Temper expectations – never expect to make a sale or meet the greatest connector at your first meeting. Hang in there. One will show up.
• Be memorable and approachable – so, even if you are not the most outgoing, you can still leave a positive impression and let others know that you have time for them.
• It is not who you know, it is who they know.
• What can you do for someone else? Don’t think about what they can do for you, it’s what you can do for them. Forge that relationship.
• Brush up on your customer service skills – remember to be polite, accessible and ready to help.
• Be professional – make eye contact, employ a firm handshake, be respectful and dress in business casual.
• Be cool, confidence, consistent and calm – don’t think of this as a “make or break” event.
• Practice – with a colleague or family member.
• Visualize the perfect client and zero in on those prospects without selling to them at first.
Above all, be yourself, have a good time and talk to people. When you put yourself out there, others will respond in kind. And remember, it’s not who you know, it’s who they know.