4 Vital Networking Tips

By Gail Cowley, Executive VP
08/29/2013

Networking is essential in the business world.  Everyone needs to do it, and some enjoy it more than others.  There are the luncheons, the endless phone calls, and the awards ceremonies – all great environments to meet and greet the elite.

The mantra “It’s about who you know” still works magic in this day and age.

Like it or not, to stay in business, you’ve got to be good at it.  And lucky for us, there are people out there who can coach you on how to be a better networker.

My Coach

Alyse Holstein, Networking CoachI recently started working with someone who is a master networker.  Her name is Alyse Holstein (click here to connect with her on LinkedIn) whose title rightly includes “Introducer” as well as “Business Consultant on Marketing, Sales, and Capital Growth.”

Working with Alyse helped me quickly realize that networking really is an art.  I have always considered myself a good networker, but now I was seeing things, especially in the area of follow up, that I could embrace.

Here are a few nuggets of networking gold I learned from Alyse.

4 Vital Networking Tips

#1 Don’t procrastinate.

“The early bird catches the worm.”  “First come, first served.”  We could go all day with the one-liners here.

Don’t.  Procrastinate.  It’s one thing to leave the rose garden until next year – four years in a row.  It’s another thing to not call the CEO you met at the gala who was interested in what you had to say about what you do, for two months.

“Big mistake.  Huge!” – Julia Roberts, Pretty Woman

#2 Follow up!

More as a flipside of the last point, following up seems to be common sense, but often goes tragically by the wayside.  Just think about how many people you meet every day, or in the course of a business week.  Now think about how many of those people would benefit from receiving an email or link to your website about something you do that could enhance their business.

If you have an expertise (and you do, if not you would not be in business), it does not hurt to be generous with it to lead someone to be more productive.

#3 Don’t be afraid to ask your current, happy clients for the names of people who they think would value what you do.

Of course, this is awkward at first, but clients are happy with you for a reason.  It makes them look good to share something that worked with their business associates and friends.  And that “something” is you.  You should be so confident in what your company offers, you hand your business cards out like Willy Wonka’s golden tickets to wide-eyed, chocolate-loving children.  Who doesn’t like chocolate?

#4 Show appreciation for the people who turn you on to new clients.

These are relationships worth nurturing.  You know who your friends are by who's there for you when you're in need.  You know the best business relationships when they refer their friends to you.  It's extremely important to show your appreciation of that gift; otherwise, you risk seeming or becoming ungrateful, which is a huge turn off in any relationship.

Keep your friends educated.  By speaking highly of what your company does, your friends will be able to talk you up with others.  Don’t underestimate the power of self-esteem in your company.  It’s not being a cheerleader, it’s just being excited about and proud of what you do.  Do a good job and the rest can follow.  (That’s another blog post for another time.)

NetworkingIn Conclusion

I once read that a CEO of a company should spend 70% of their time insuring that they're making raving fans of their current clients, 20% following up on warm leads, and 10% meeting new people.

So make sure you are broadening your reach and not attending only the same circles’ functions.  Get out there and “try new things,” “expand your horizons,” and “reach for the sky!”  (It must be mantra day.)

It’s already September.  We have four months left to tee up the opportunities this year.  Let’s make it our best year yet.  Go out there and get ‘em!

 

To contact Alyse Holstein for networking consultations and assistance in business introductions, you can email her @ alyselondon@aol.com, call her at (315)-345-8797, or connect with her on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/alyse1.

Feel free to include your networking advice in the comments box below.

Networking photo by Freelancers Union.

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