The Art of Networking
It begins like this. You meet professionals at a networking event. You find the perfect match for your objective and you approach them. You make small talk and pass on your card in the hope that the professionals will connect with you when the need arises. Lets start by saying this, you are wrong! Unless you have made a complelling sales pitch about yourself and the offering this is highly unlikely to happen.
The magic begins when you start following up with the professional not just for your objective but in general. Lets treat this like a Brand. Imagine you were a brand and you spent X amount in advertising on T.V in the hope that your customer will pick you up from the shelf and buy you on the basis of your advertisment. Puff, that doesnt happen. Instead you do an excersie called brand recall. You catch the consumer on digital, send them an e-mail. do digital ads, etc. which leads to increased brand recall. Remember that time when Dominoes wished you on your birthday and gave you a special discount, that trick made you feel special and connected to the brand. In the same way you need to work your way up with networking.
These are some steps that would help you network like a Pro:
1. Send a quick E-Mail:
Take your contacts e-mail id from that rectangular piece of paper and send them a introductory e-mail. Its doesnt have to be long, formal or fancy, instead short and to the point. For eg, “Hey Mark, It was lovely meeting you at the Commerce event last night. Wish you luck with your son’s football championship game this weekend”. If you wish to add a follow-up , you can say that as well- just add, “We started to talk about the synergies we have in our prospecting, I would love to continue that conversation. How does your schedule look next Friday to grab a coffee or lunch’?
It doesn’t have to be long, just to keep the ball moving.
2. Link in on LinkedIn:
Since linkedIn has so many free tools to help you pop-up in your prospects feed, it hellps create a re-call. You can send them a e-mail occasinally like on their birthdays, work anniversary, or a new job. This helps you build a raaport with them and helps in fostering your relationships, so what’s the harm!?
3. Create Re-connect notes:
Every time I meet a prospect or a professional I create a small document called the re-connect notes. I write down points like what we spoke about, where did we leave the conversation, any important events that the prospect told me about, any personal news about the prospect like its son’s graduation, birthday, or etc. This helps me create a relationship beyond the formal setup and also allows me to stay on top of my game. You can send an e-mail once a month to your prospects by picking one of the talking points from your ‘re-connnect notes’.
4. Give first. Expect nothing in return:
During your initial meeting, did the prospect mention about a need they are overtly trying to fullfill. Perhaps, their sibling is seeking a new job or they are trying to get an invite for an event. If so, maybe you can e-mail them about his/her needs and try and help them fullfill that need and expect nothing in return.
This will create a positive image about you and the prospect will always remember you for the good deed, perhaps he/she will also tell others about you. This is what I call connecting beyond networking.
5. Use the power of one connection to open many doors:
Any prospect with whom you interact would know hundreds of people if not thousands. This makes the power of your conversation exponential. Remember you are not only talking to the prospect but their entire network. If the prospect is looking for something, help them with your network and unlock opportunities for both the parties.
6. Make follow-up even simpler beyond LinkedIn Tools:
You can use many tools for this. My favourite tools is Newsle. It connects to your contacts and sends you email digests to let you know when someone in your network has appeared in the news. Another favorite is HARO (Help A Reporter Out). You’ll get three emails per day with opportunities from press outlets to be quoted or featured in their stories. It’s great to use yourself, but also to share with your contacts who are a good fit. Lastly, check out Relate.ly. This is an inexpensive platform that scores how well you’re keeping up with your contacts.
There you have it: These six tips can help you follow-up and network like a pro. Add follow-up notfications in your calendar and soon you’ll be able to integrate these tips as a routine. Unlcoking opportunities can start by performing simple steps, network, connect & follow-up.
I would love to hear your comments about the article and feel free to ask me questions regarding the same. If you liked the article share it with your network. Here’s to you building a stronger network!
I’m the founder and cheif strategist of Swick Assistance: Dedicated virtual assistance for Entrepreneurs, Professionals & Small teams. For more information on the service you can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org