Networking is all about connecting, establishing, and building relationships that not only benefit you but also benefit others. There are many personal and professional factors involved; therefore, it is vital that you put your energy toward building a powerful network.
Whether you are building a new network or recreating your current one, it can be a difficult and stressful task that may require you to step out of your comfort zone. You may be afraid that you look weird or sound too boring. Plus, it is also more difficult in today’s society for people to start conversations because we are used to digital communication.
The following tips can help you develop a strong and long-lasting network of contacts.
Ask for Referrals
Asking your friends, family, and associates for contact information of others who they think would be beneficial for you to know is a great place to start. The “friend-of-a-friend” connection is strong and usually quite successful. Be sure that you are reliable, make a good impression, make your friend look good, and do not let your friend down. By doing so, you will have many people willing to refer you.
Treat Social Media with Respect
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are great ways to begin connecting and building a strong network. However, you need to treat them with the same level of respect that you would when you attend a networking event. If you do not, it will become an unsuccessful attempt at networking. Following these three tips in order to increase your social media presence.
- Use the best picture: Your photo needs to be professional and supports your industry. Avoid using pictures with a pet or child, even if it is cute!
- Add pizazz to your summary: Create a summary that showcases your professional identity and emphasizes what you are in it for. For example, what you are passionate about, what motivates you, and what your career goals are.
- Add all of your experience: Including volunteer work can showcase your value to potential employers. Many recruiters view volunteer work to be just as valuable as paid experience.
Look at Your Local Community
There is never a shortage of local networking opportunities. You can find opportunities through your local Chamber of Commerce or through an event on Meetup, which is a serviced designed to organize online groups that host in-person and virtual events for those with similar interests. Tapping into local business leaders within your community is an excellent way of building a network. Also find other businesses that complement your own. For instance, if you own an event decorating business, find businesses that are in the wedding industry.
Cold calling is where representative reach out to potential customers who have not expressed any interest in the product or services being offered. Many so-called “experts” have declared that cold calling is dead. That is not the case, especially if you keep in mind the following tips when cold calling:
- Accept rejection
- Focus on immediate learning and not immediate sales
- Do not waste anyone’s time, even yours
- Follow your scripts like an actor and not like a robot
- Figure out a calling schedule that benefits you
- Learn to leave effective voicemails
- Practice, practice, practice
- Come up with great questions and rebuttals
Attend Events Just Because
Do not attend events just to collect business cards. If you do, your network will decline quickly. Once you get home from an event, it is most likely you will have lost all of the business cards you collected, or you will decide not to follow up with anyone you met. Instead, attend events that you could learn something new at, events that interest you, or events that you know you will have fun at. This way you will not be uncomfortable, you will meet others with similar interests, and you will be yourself. You will have a better chance of making real connections and ones that will last.
Networking can be tedious and hard work, but it can also be fun and allow you to learn something new and make new acquaintances. There may be times where you have to step out of your comfort zone, but do not let that hold you back. The staff at Intergetik would be happy to help you come up with networking ideas that will benefit your company. Contact us today on our website so we can discuss how we can best help you.