Most of the people I know are networking to generate new business. Some are operating under the belief that networking is a new form of cold calling and start selling too early in the conversation. You know what I mean. I don't know about you, but every time I network, I run into someone trying to sell me something. I am usually not their prospect but they don't ask enough questions to know! They assume everyone is their prospect. Not so!
There is so much available in the information sphere that addresses the 'how to' of networking that it is surprising that so many still are challenged using it to produce consistent results! Check yourself? How do you define the activity?
Let's start with redefining the activity of networking. Instead of simply connecting or building relationships, look at networking as a strategic marketing tactic. As a part of your overall marketing strategy, you would likely be much more specific about where you network, who you connect with, and how you follow up!
Here are a few quick rules for networking strategically...and making contacts that lead to business!
1. Target events that are rich with those with your target market or potential strategic partners.
2. Don't start with selling. Ask good questions!
3. See the big picture. The person you meet may not be in need of your services but could connect you to opportunities you wouldn't otherwise find.
4. Follow up. Do your homework and identify your A prospects & partners (or cool people you meet). When you meet those who fit that criteria or close to it. Take the next step and follow up. This is where the money is made!
Next time you network, try these new rules! What about you? Do you have any tips for networking strategically?