Networking strategies can really help grow a business. But of course, you must put in the time and effort for any networking opportunities to achieve a tangible ROI. Statistics vary, however, many reveal it takes up to seven contact points before landing a sale. Regardless of these figures, the time-honored practice of networking pays off. (If it didn’t people wouldn’t bother wasting their time.) So, it’s really about taking the right approach.
Why Successful Entrepreneurs Network
Networking isn’t new in any sense. It’s an activity that helps to promote a business. But, that long track record doesn’t mean that it always works. There are several networking mistakes people make all the time and don’t realize it. That is, until they don’t see any fruits from their labor.
Sales is about influence. There are methods of persuasion that work very well in business. But, there are also several fundamentals that need to be in place if you want to succeed. If those fundamentals aren’t in place, you can pretty much kiss your chances for success goodbye. —Entrepreneur.com
Successful entrepreneurs network because it gives them an opportunity to grow their network and not necessarily to sell their products and services. Did you catch that? Networking is more about growing a circle of regular contacts rather than selling products and services. Think about it this way, would you go to a networking event that’s run in a hard-sell environment?
Most Effective Networking Strategies You can Use
So, now that you know networking is about extending your contacts and getting familiar with others and not selling, how do you do it right? In other words, what are the most effective networking strategies? Well, here are some helpful bits of advice about how to network:
- Be confident in your value. It all begins with your confidence. If you aren’t self-confident about your own personality (and comfortable with your faults), you’ll give off the wrong vibe. Go into any networking situation with confidence in your value.
- Don’t expect anything in return. Successful people aren’t afraid to give and not receive anything in return. Now, that sounds scary but it’s actually a sound business practice so long as it doesn’t cost very much. In other words, you can give expert advice, speak to a class, or do something else others find valuable.
- Find common ground right away. When you meet someone, be sure to find common ground as soon as possible. This way, you’re more comfortable. And, be sure to give genuine compliments often.
- Don’t sell your product or service. We’re back to the same philosophy about growing your network. When appropriate, speak about your work. For example, how you’ve solved a customer’s problem. But, do not go into a sales pitch. Let other see your value in more ways than one.
What other suggestion do you have for networking? How and where do you find networking opportunities? Please share your thoughts and experiences by commenting!
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