Finding Success in Networking
For the past three years, I’ve been spending more time networking in metro Atlanta. I love meeting new people. Every hour of the day, people all over the world, are meeting for a common purpose, i.e., sharing information that can hopefully turn into profits. Most are meeting each other for the first time. If you’re one of my fellow veteran networkers, you know that our great city is literally a networking nation. There’s always something bubbling in Atlanta on the social/networking scene. It’s good to be social, but true networking should eventually turn into cash, trade or a mutually beneficial business relationship.
Whether over the phone, online or face-to-face, the ultimate goal is to find someone to do business with you, and in return, hopefully you can somehow return the favor by giving them a lead or by trading a service that you offer.
Here are a few tips to help you along your networking journey.
1. Network with an open mind.
I’ve attended a multitude of events where “seemingly educated” people make a point of saying, “I’ve never heard of you.” Isn’t this the purpose of networking … meeting new people.” Have you ever picked up one of the most popular telephone directories and recognized all of the businesses, just on the first page? So, if you want to get your networking off to a good start, it wouldn’t be wise to begin your conversation by making the above statement and please, keep an open mind.
2. Loud music is not conducive to effective networking.
For people who are seriously interested in networking, loud music is a big turn-off when they are trying to talk business with a potential customer or client. If you’re invited to a networking event, be sure to ask about the music. Networking is one thing, partying is another. I”ve attended too many events where I’ve had to yell at the top of my lungs so I could be heard by people who were standing less than two feet away from me. So, if you’re hosting a networking event, remember everyone loves music, but please keep it in the background for the sake of the people who are really trying to network and talk business.
3. If possible, become a sponsor or participate as a vendor.
To me, this is the best position to be in when networking, especially where there is a huge crowd. It’s good to exchange cards, but figure out a way to become memorable.
This task is the most important one. Promptly follow-up to see if there’s some way in which you can further strengthen the relationship. Just recently, I met a young lady at a business expo who didn’t have the time to ask all of the questions that she needed answered before she could move forward with her buying decision. We agreed to meet a few days later at another networking event, which was already on my calendar. After answering all of her questions there, she became our new client. Following up can often help you find success in networking. And remember, you’re not just following up for business, you’re following up for other mutual business opportunities.
Happy networking and I’ll see you around!
– Spark Plug
Publisher – People You Need to Know Magazine