I have been networking a lot these days. I am a social person, and it’s a very natural way for me to build my business — one of the many activities I include as part of DesignWorks NY’s marketing mix. But at a wonderful multi-chamber mega-mixer event for the Hudson Valley earlier this week, it was painfully clear that some folks just don’t get it.
Networking is NOT about selling your services. I’ll say it again. Networking is NOT about selling your services. It’s about making connections and building relationships that can lead to future sales.
Here are three important things to remember about networking:
1. Don’t immediately sell your services (its what sends me and many others running in the other direction). Ask the person what they do and then listen. That’s why we have two ears, but only one mouth. Ask how you can help them, and likewise offer how they can help you. Networking is about opening doors and connecting people, not sales.
2. Follow up, later. After a networking event, contact those you met (and see a mutually beneficial relationship with) to see when you could get together to get better acquainted. During your initial conversation there should have been threads of commonality that can be the motivation for your contact – an interesting article, a helpful website, a possible connection. But do wait at least until the next day.
3. Become a powerful, trusted resource. People are more comfortable doing business with people they trust. So make a plan to “get out there” and meet people with frequency, and you’ll become a “go to” person.