For sales people and small businesses owners networking efforts can open a lot of doors. Your network of other professionals is a great source of information, leads and referrals. When active professionals get together new partnerships and opportunities can be created. It’s important to build your network.
While community and business events are great opportunities to network with other professionals, expanding your network usually happens during your normal course of business. A brief introduction with another business person or a prospect can be an opportunity to expand your network – if you do it right.
I see a lot of people put in a bad effort when they’re first introduced at a networking event. Most people do little more than an elevator pitch and pass out business cards. That’s it! And it’s the wrong way to network yourself.
Your elevator pitch may be helpful, but your goal should be to collect the contact information from people you are interested in adding to your network. Networking is about establishing relationships. Going through your elevator pitch and then handing out a business card and then moving on, isn’t exactly a compelling interaction.
Work to have conversations instead of pitching. Ask questions about them and their business and then get their information. Getting their information allows you to do a follow up. Most people don’t do follow ups and leaving it up to them to contact you usually means you’ll never hear from them again.
Reach out to the people you want in your network on social media and/or email. It’s important to invest some time into expanding your network. Spend some time developing your relationships with people in your network.
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