It’s not about networking, it’s about making opportunities happen

Do you have you a networking strategy?  There’s more to networking than ‘turning up’!

From identifying who you want to connect with, to knowing where to find them, there are some essential questions you should answer in order to create a networking plan that will work for you.

1) Why are you networking in the first place? What results do you want from your networking?

Tactical networking:

  • Finding new customers;
  • Finding new suppliers;
  • Meeting potential associates and referrers;
  • Tapping into useful immediate knowledge.

Developmental networking:

  • Personal development and learning;
  • New skills and improving your effectiveness;
  • Meeting those peers who will be able to advise and mentor;
  • Widen your range of contacts.

Strategic networking:

  • Get you and your brand noticed
  • Positioning yourself and your business in the marketplace;
  • Opening up new opportunities;
  • Identifying key people and businesses who will help you achieve your goals.

2. Ask yourself who are your best prospects? You’d be surprised at the number of business professionals who can’t define their best prospects. Most of them either say that everyone is a potential prospect, or they offer some vague description without any specifics.

3. Then ask of your prospects, who exactly do I want to meet? The theory behind making the right kind of connection is summed up in the simple saying “You don’t know who they know”!

  • Practice networking by attending.
  • Get out there, you will meet many interesting people and contacts, some of which will become great clients, customers or friends.
  • Be genuine and authentic
  • Have you heard the saying “be nice to the people on the way up because you never know when you might be meeting them on the way down.”  The world’s a small place.
  • Be generous
  • Use your brand, your leverage, your contacts to help other people, it will all come back to you in positive karma and plentiful business opportunities. Give your time, your advice, and especially help make connections and introductions for each other.
  • Keep a database or CRM system. Keep a record, you are only 4 or 5 people away from anything you ever want or need.  All you have to do is ask.
  • Make time to maintain regular and consistent contact with the people in your network.  If you’re front of mind guess who they turn! One of the best marketing tactics is to periodically meet with people for a 121.  It’s much more personal, and much more fun too.
  • Build rapport. Don’t go to networking events to sell, go to build relationships.
  • Are you a people magnet or a people repellent?  What are you projecting outwardly?  Make sure others see you as a positive, warm and friendly person they would like to interact with.  Make sure your positive personality and outlook is attracting relationships and not pushing them away.

Finally, remember that it’s important to surround yourself with quality business contacts. The best way to your ideal contact very often is through another contact. It’s a fact that you need the person you just met, more than he or she needs you!

But top of the list be genuine and not let your networking get sleazy!

Lorna Burroughes

Thrive – developing connections for growth

If you want to keep up to date with networking hints and tips or would like to find out more about how to make business connections and networking in Norwich and Norfolk, please email enquiries@thrive.buzz or ring us on 01603 597727