Ever gone to the dreaded networking event where everyone just mills around stalking his or her next potential customer; where you are instantly dismissed if you don’t meet the other person’s “target customer” or “target industry”? It is awful. These events can suck the life out of you and make you never want to leave the confines of your office.
Yet, networking and building your contacts is a vital part of growing your business. So we found this great post from Tim Janh on “How To Network With Anyone”. It offers great tips in how to approach a networking scenario and get the most benefit.
At the end of the day, being genuine and offering up assistance always gains the most payback. If you are the person in the group, hunting through the pack for who may be the biggest dollar sign for your business, others will notice – and not in a good way!
Approach networking by getting involved in your community and finding groups with which you truly enjoy connecting. Don’t be the smarmy sales guy or gal, just be yourself. You want to connect with potential customers and business partners with whom you would genuinely enjoy working. Offer to help, give advice, mentor, make a connection; you will find that extending some good karma can work wonders in the business world.
Lastly, keep up your contacts; reach out to people after an event with a phone call, email, or just a simple LinkedIn hello. Don’t kid yourself that by tweeting a lot or updating your Facebook page replaces genuine face-to-face interaction. Social media is a tool to support networking, not a direct replacement. And please, I beg you, don’t spam people who interact with you online with your business pitch. For instance, sending an auto-reply to new Twitter followers that tells them to buy your new e-book is cheesy. Let your relationships grow by being a great source of information and support, thus growing your network and ultimately your bottom line.