By Austin Titus
There are several ways to successfully network, of course one of the most common things that comes to mind is generating leads. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that you are there to develop relationships. A good relationship with someone can turn out to be way more beneficial than one or two closed deals.
There are several different actions you can take to make sure you are making networking worth your while. Use these different tips to make your networking practices lead to an additional revenue stream.
Talk to the Decision Makers
The key with networking is making sure conversation are being had with the people who are responsible for making the spending decisions with a business. When looking at a networking event – especially one where attendees RSVP in advance – you can find out who the C-level, presidents and top decision makers are. This is the key audience. These people are the ones who are making spending decisions. Better yet, these folks are the ones who can push the underlings in their companies to make stuff happen.
Now, just because these high-level professionals are attending networking events doesn’t mean they will network with you. There is still work to be done. The biggest piece of work is actually connecting. Taking several steps to meet these folks and talk to them is critical. Once that face time happens, the outlook of getting these executives to do business with a company is that much more probable.
Don’t Solicit for Sales When First Meeting
The best networking relationships are the ones where it feels normal and natural. When approaching a decision maker, if one comes off like they’re looking for the sale, that shuts down the relationship. Instead, the key is getting to know the people you are networking with and developing a quality relationship. Then, once you are done with the meeting, gradually introduce your business and what it can do for these types of customers.
Focusing on business is imperative. Learn what a fellow connection’s business does and figure out a way in which the business can help yours. Doing so will encourage the connection to work with your business as well. The key to making this happen is a gradual building of the relationship. Trust is established by avoiding being salesy when first meeting with network connections. Authenticity is valued, so remember that when networking, the key is the long game, not the short-term gains.
Attend the Right Networking Events
Some folks head to networking events because there is an event on that day. This is most common among people who are at the lower levels of a company. The reality is these are folks who are looking to advance their career instead of making deals. For people who are looking to develop a network full of sales leads, going to the wrong networking events will set them back, unfortunately. The key is to determine what are the right type of networking events.
One of the first things to do is make sure to understand that every event is a networking event. If the event is something that advertises an audience of executives, and this is the group you are targeting then that is the type of event for you to attend. Avoid events that have broad descriptions as well. Another important thing to consider is events that have smaller numbers of attendees. The smaller the number of attendees, the better the chance to form meaningful networking connections at the event. There is less pressure to work the room and it feels more relaxed.
Keep All Networking Information in One Place
The worst thing that can happen is having a great idea and the right person in mind yet not knowing exactly where that person’s information is. This means someone else can beat you to the punch and get in touch with that person. Networking is all about forming connections so people see your great ideas and are able to act on them. That is why one of the things you need to do is have a place where you keep all your networking information. This includes names, contact points, and even small summaries of what the business does and their position within a company. This information is quite valuable – it is where leads come from. In the old days, the rolodex was where this information was found. However, technology has changed that.
A great way to keep your networking information where you need it is having it on a smartphone. One of the best solutions out there is Network Lead Exchange. The Network Lead Exchange platform is the one-stop solution for all networking leads. This is where businesspeople are able to find their contacts and then get in touch quickly with just a quick swipe or tap. Having everything in one place – and with it backed up by cloud storage – means no matter where you go, you have everything you need.
Close the Deal
Once you have attended the right events and made the right connections, the next step is making the pitches and closing the sales. As said earlier, this is a long process and that means building deep relationships with network connections. This is where it is imperative to understand where your business provides a unique selling point to another company. Leverage that selling point to drive sales and make the presentation work. The presentation will confirm your professionalism to your different connection points.
Network Lead Exchange can make this process easier with allowing you to build quality relationships from just about anywhere. Working within a Network Lead Exchange chapter not only helps networking become more efficient, but it is rewarding as well. There will be leads coming to all connection points because everyone on the network sees the value of referrals. Thanks to the commission and to the hard work of networking, a business network will become a great sales funnel. Learn more by checking out your local Network Lead Exchange chapter at https://networkleadexchange.com/signup.