How you approach networking makes a HUGE difference in the results you achieve. Keep It Local’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sheila Neisler has a great analogy when people state that networking doesn’t work for them. She challenges those who say networking doesn’t work by asking them how they approach networking. One of the questions she asks is if the person complaining, approaches networking like a trip to a vending machine. Do they insert their dues into the “Networking Vending Machine” and then expect to select the flavor or type of referral to be dispensed out? If you believe that just because you pay dues, you are guaranteed a referral or multiple referrals, There is more to networking than paying dues and expecting the referrals to come. It takes work.
It is my belief, (and taking the risk of sounding cliche…) you will only get out of networking what you put into it. The question then becomes, what exactly do you need to put into networking in order for it to “pay off.”
Below is a checklist of 8 best practices and “habits” of networking that I believe you need in order to be truly successful:
This should really go without saying. The less you attend networking meetings, the more people will forget about you, your business and the product or services you provide. The old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” is especially true when it comes to networking. Additionally, what does it say about your dependability when it comes to you as a business person? Inconsistent attendance may also send a message that your business, product, or services will be inconsistent as well. If you can’t attend a meeting or you have a conflict, send someone in your place to represent you and your business.
Be on time.
Punctuality is huge. When you are late to a meeting, it sends a message about how you manage your time, your calendar, and your business.
Volunteer to take on a small job within your Chapter. This is a great way to get to know your fellow networkers and to be memorable for the right reasons.
Giving before receiving.
Be prepared to give to your fellow networkers before you actually receive. Things that you can give to your fellow members are things like:
- Introductions to key people who can help their business
- Valuable pieces of information
- Leads and referrals
Getting to know your fellow members.
One of the fastest ways to speed up the networking cycle is to participate in one-to-one meetings. Approach these meetings with a sincere attitude of wanting to learn about the person you are meeting and how you can help them. Don’t use this meeting as the opportunity sell someone. Selling during a one-to-one is probably the fastest way to end a business relationship.
Come prepared with a supply of:
- Business cards
- Marketing materials
You never know who you will meet during a networking meeting or where the conversation will turn. Be prepared to give someone the information they are looking for when they ask for it.
Keep It Local offers the opportunity for its members to submit value-rich, non-salesy blog articles to be posted on our website. Another great way to contribute is to be active on our members-only Facebook Group. This is a great way for the entire network to get to know, like and trust you! Interest in submitting an article? Here’s what you need to know:
- Articles should be 500-600 words in length
- Offer value, tips, and information in a non-salesy format
- Submit a headshot to accompany your article
- Include your name, title, and business name when submitting your article
- Submit your article to: Info@KeepItLocal-LLC.com
Cross-Pollinate to E X P A N D your network
As a member of Keep It Local, you are a member of a network. Our network is about 500 members strong. Get to know your network by visiting the other Chapters.
Those are only 8 best practices and habits you need to develop. There are more, but these 8 will get doing more just scratching the surface when it comes to networking results.
To your future networking success!