Today on the Business over Breakfast podcast, Andrew Griffiths and Bree James talk about a…
Want to Be an Awesome Business Networker?
We all know that having the right people around us is pivotal to running a successful business.
This includes clients, business partners, your team and suppliers. So how do you build a powerful network of great people to support and grow your business?
Here are 17 tips to make sure you’re meeting and surrounding yourself with the right people:
1. Get out of your office.
This is tip number 1 … Because you already know everybody in your office!
2. Start every connection by giving, not taking.
Whenever you meet somebody new, whether it’s a potential client, business partner or team member, ask yourself what you can offer them, not what you can get.
3. Always be prepared.
Whether you are at a social or business event, always have business cards (or your book!) with you. You never know when an opportunity might be around the corner. Leave some in your car, so that you’re never caught out
4. Know your pitch.
It’s important to be able to launch into your pitch at a moment’s notice. And don’t forget to tailor it to whoever you are talking to. A potential business partner wants different information to a potential client.
5. Be the connector.
Do you know two people who might be able to work together? Hook them up! Although you may not benefit immediately from this, what goes around comes around.
6. Get online.
Although meeting people in person is always the best way to network, don’t forget about online. Social media is also a great way to grow your network.
7. Remember that it’s for the benefit of your business.
Some people (like me) are not naturally social people. But, if you’d prefer to stay at home and read a book rather than attend an event, remember that you cannot be successful in business without sometimes doing things you’d rather not.
8. Always be professional.
As a Small Business owner, there really is no such thing as downtime. We’ve all woken up at 2.00am with a great idea or in a panic about a deadline. We’ve all been in the middle of a social event, but our minds were really at work. You represent your business wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.
9. Always be helpful.
I have a policy in my business that once I start talking to a potential client, I don’t want to give them any reason to go elsewhere.
10. Stay in touch.
Somebody you haven’t spoken to for two years is not in your network. You can’t just contact people when you want something. Call, email and catch up with people in your network on a regular basis to keep relationships alive and healthy.
11. You don’t need to connect with ‘everybody’.
While it’s always good to grow your network, sometimes you clearly have nothing in common with someone. Don’t waste their time or yours. Move on to the next opportunity.
12. Host events at your office just to catch up with people.
Invite clients, suppliers and business partners for drinks on a Friday evening. Don’t make it a sales event or a product launch, just a catch-up.
13. Become a public speaker.
Speaking at events is a great way to meet people, and also to demonstrate your expertise.
14. Don’t be shy.
Is there somebody at an event you’re keen to talk to, but you’re worried they are ‘too important’ or that they won’t be interested in you? Don’t be shy! Introduce yourself and explain why you’d love to chat. The worst they can do is say no.
15. Always follow up.
Whenever you meet somebody new, and you’d like to develop a relationship, always follow up. This will help them remember you. This can be a simple email or text message saying it was great to meet and you look forward to perhaps working together in the future.
16. Make notes.
When somebody gives you a business card, always write on the back when and where you met them and the key points of any discussions you had. If they don’t give you a business card, make notes on your phone.
17. Always think long term.
Solid relationships are built over time. If a relationship experiences a speed bump, try to work through it rather than giving up.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get networking
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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