10 Things the Best Networkers Do

by Rob Brown on March 4, 2014 · 0 comments

welcoming guestsGrowing your business by networking and referrals makes good sense. Pretty much all business is personal these days, and building trusted relationships that lead to recommendations and introductions is a good use of your time. Good networking is coachable. You can get better. And the best way to do that is to copy the great networkers. Here are 10 things you will always see the best networking doing…

  1. Have a strategy. Know who you want to meet and why. Otherwise you’ll just end up in the wrong room talking to the wrong people and getting the wrong outcomes. That’s frustrating and a massive waste of time.
  2. Play to your strengths. There are many ways to network productively, raise your profile and build your connections. You’ve got to choose the ones that play to your natural strengths and skills. That could be big black tie events, small referral based groups, online, one off teas/coffees or running your own events.
  3. Show up. You can’t wait for the world to come to you. You’ve got to get out there. Whether that means attending business related events or engaging with people online, if you’re not in the game, you’re not going to win!
  4. Work the room. We did a practical session on how to work a room, how to move in and out of groups and how to approach people. These skills are vital to making networking encounters profitable and productive. Otherwise you’re just standing at the edge of a room waiting for people to come and talk to you.
  5. Prepare your pitch. You’re going to be asked, “What do you do?”. This is your elevator pitch. You need something distinctive and memorable, rather than just giving your job title.
  6. Do the small talk. Small talk is big business. Small talk oils the wheels of conversation. And trust is often built up more in the non-business conversations. Getting good at small talk gives you a real edge in making a networking impact.
  7. Ask good questions. Once you get past “how are you?” you’ve got to go through the networking conversational gears. There are great questions you can ask to open people up, make them remember you and most importantly, make them want to speak to you again.
  8. Be a connector. How valuable are you? How much are you worth knowing? Despite your knowledge and expertise, you can make yourself stand out in your business community by being a great introducer and connector. That means exploring people’s networks and finding out both who they know and who they want to know.
  9. Follow up. 90% of networkers don’t follow up. They just collect a bunch of business cards and fail to do anything with them. But not you. You know the fortune is in the follow up. Whether it’s a follow up email, phone call, social media connect or F2F meet up, if they’re worth talking to, they’re worth following up!
  10. Keep in touch. You won’t sell them on the first meeting or phone call. But you made a connection, you felt they were worth following up and you thought you could help them down the line. So stay connected down that line and find reasons to keep in touch. Otherwise when they need what you do, they’ll buy from somebody else.

Thankfully much of this is coachable. If you’d like an invitation to my upcoming webinar on making more money from networking, connect to me on LinkedIn and I’ll share details.

Most people fail to squeeze the juice required from their networking efforts to justify the time and effort invested. More often than not, they don’t do the ten things above. As a result, they waste valuable time, energy and resources, and fail to leverage one of the best marketing activities there are.

In my work helping business owners build and leverage powerful networks and connections, I’ve noticed the same mistakes over and over again. To get them wrong once is unfortunate but perhaps understandable. To keep getting them wrong when your livelihood and your reputation is at stake? Well that’s just careless and unprofessional.

Give yourself a mark out of 10 for each of these critical areas. If you’re below 5/10 in any, then you’re committing a serious networking mistake. Add up your scores and get a simple percentage. How did you do out of 100? The best networkers are 70+.

For more networking and referral tips and a free copy of Rob’s book 57 Ways to Build Your Reputation go to www.therobbrown.com

Rob Brown
Rob Brown is an expert on making more money from business networking, online and face to face. He loves working with people who want to network for more sales, referrals or career opportunities, Rob’s books, coaching and dynamic talks have helped clients such as GE, HSBC and a range of speakers, leaders and business owners. A regular media contributor, Rob is founder of the Global Networking Council (the world’s top 200 networking thought leaders, authors and gurus) and author of the bestselling book How to Build Your Reputation. For a free copy of Rob’s Networking Follow Up Checklist – 45 tips to Turn Your Business Cards into Business, go to www.therobbrown.com/nwfu-check-signup

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