NETWORKING is one of the surest ways to get to meet more people, whether for personal or corporate success.
Research has shown that the more people you know, the larger your pool of prospects or potential clients. This will surely enhance your sales eventually. However, it is not just the quantity of people you meet but the quality of each encounter.
Leaving a positive impression on every person you meet is imperative if you are to maximise every networking opportunity. To do this successfully, you have to use effective networking and sales techniques.
There are basically three processes of effective networking, and each of these processes has many essential factors. In this article, I will share with you one essential factor in each of the processes. They will help you to significantly enhance your networking skills, positively impact your work or business, and make you shine, not just among your peers, but also among your competitors.
The preparation process
Essential Factor 1: the right mindset
On average, we know about 200 to 250 people. If I know a person well, I indirectly know many of the people that this person knows because of my direct contact with him or her. When you go to a networking session, you are not there to make “contact”, you are there to connect.
Making contact can be superficial, but making a connection implies a deeper encounter, stemming from a conversation that was engaging or meaningful. Making a connection with someone means that you have made a good impression on him. This will make you more memorable in his eyes than many other people he may have met at the same networking event.
Before attending any networking event, ask yourself these questions:
• What type of networking event is it?
• What is the demography of the other attendees?
• What are the main objectives of attending the networking event?
• Do I represent myself or an organisation?
• What should my conversational points focus on?
Preparing yourself both mentally and physically by answering the above questions will give you the right mindset to embark on your networking journey at an event. You will be ready to represent yourself and/or your organisation well, and each action you take will be focused on moving towards the right objectives.
The procedures process
Essential Factor 2: Making An Impression
Always leave a positive impression. People like those who are positive. Learn how to say the right words at the right time.
Do your research. You need to know the appropriate etiquette and protocol for each event you attend. Know when to approach the relevant people and practise what to say in your first conversations with them to bring about a positive outcome.
Ask yourself how you can create value for the other party so that they will remember you once the event is over. These are excellent questions to work on as they will help you to differentiate yourself from the rest of the other networkers.
The post-event process
Essential Factor 3: Following Up
Stick to the post-networking follow-up rule of 1-4-7. For example, if you meet someone for the first time, contact him or her the next day to follow up. This could be in the form of a call, a text message or an e-mail.
Four days later, follow up with another contact. Then, seven days later, contact the person again to keep in touch. Remember to do this with a light touch — don’t be a stalker!
By doing these short follow-ups, your prospect or potential client will be assured of your interest, and will be more willing to agree to a meeting.
Bear in mind that this rule of thumb might not be applicable to high net-worth clients due to their busy schedules. In such cases, use the advanced post-networking follow-up rule of “3-7-12” for this group of people.
The timeline is more generous to allow for the fact that high-net worth individuals usually have a lot of commitments and people to meet. In addition, always propose shorter meetings to heighten your chances of meeting up with them.
Make these three essential factors a part of your daily work life and you will be equipped with the tools to enhance your networking experience, rise above your competitors and successfully enhance your sales.