10 Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs
Posted by JEREME SANBORN
29 March, 2017
“It’s who you know.” Think about how many times you’ve heard someone utter that phrase over the years. Here’s the thing – it’s true. If you’re running a small to midsize business, the importance of learning how to network effectively cannot be overstated. Networking can help you form important business connections, increase your sales through referrals, create profitable joint ventures with other business owners and more. Here are 10 helpful tips for honing your networking skills …
1. Practice Your Elevator Speech – There will be times that you only have a few moments to tell people about your business. To prepare for such times, create a clear, concise “elevator speech” about your business that you can deliver in approximately 30 seconds – in other words the time it takes people to ride up or down an elevator in an office building. Hone your speech until A) it contains the essence of your business and B) you can deliver it in your sleep.
2. Mingle – At an event with people you know? Sit with people you don’t know. Remember, forming new relationships is why you’re networking in the first place!
3. Focus – When you’re talking to a new contact, make sure you give them your undivided attention. Don’t let your eyes wander around the room for your next target. Instead, focus completely on the person in front of you. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.
4. Be Memorable – To state the obvious, a lot of people meet at networking events. So make an effort to be engaging and engaged with the people you meet. Show genuine interest in their business and passion for your own. Let your personality shine through so you leave a lasting impression long after the event is over.
5. Get Active – Do a little research on which networking organizations it makes sense for you to join given your particular business. Then not only join those organizations, but consider taking an active leadership role within them. Doing so will help you stand out from the crowd. Remember, don’t just show up, get involved.
6. Keep Contacts Organized – If you’re networking effectively, you’re going to meet a lot of new people. Keep all of those people straight in your mind by listing your networking contacts along with their titles, companies and how you met them. Whenever possible, make note of personal details about your contacts so that you can reference them later.
7. Follow Up – Creating new contacts by networking at events is all well and good but it’s turning those contacts into sales that ultimately matters. Make it a goal to continue the conversation with your new contacts by following up with them within 48 hours after any networking event.
8. Don’t Come On Too Strong – There is a fine line between networking and just plain annoying. Don’t cross that line by pestering your contacts too much. Remember that chances are they’re as busy as you are.
9. Network Efficiently – Networking takes time and as we all know – time is money. Make sure the networking you’re doing is worth the time investment you’re making. Certain events or contacts not reaping many rewards for you? Adjust your efforts accordingly.
10. Take Five – Remember, you’ve got a business to run so don’t spread yourself too thin. Consider devoting 5 hours a week to networking to begin with and then dial back your efforts if you need a break.