In order to be successful in sales and business, it is important to have a large and wide contact network. Even though more and more are happening online today, there are still plenty of opportunities to network physically, such as at trade shows, industry meetings and customer meetings.
However, if you are not a celebrity or a top name in your industry, you must be active and make the effort to create new contacts. Here are some tips on how to be better at networking.
Less pitch and more questions
Personally, I like to have a good lift presentation for mingles and the like. However, elevator presentations have a major weakness, you are not talking and listening.
Therefore, always start by asking questions and listening, asking more questions and listening more. Then when someone asks what you do, you use your elevator presentation. Never the other way around.
Save the business card
The paper business cards seem to be going on for a while despite almost everything else being digitized. They work great as a memo about who you are after a good conversation. However, do not start by handing out the business card right and left, but first leave one when you have made contact.
Quality before quantity
A large network is certainly good, but the right network is better. Rather focus on getting to know a smaller number of people than running around and talking for a moment with everyone.
However, be sure to talk to the right people. The right people are not the ones who are the easiest to get into a conversation with, but the ones you can benefit from and create benefits for.
Do not be shy
Depending on your personality, mingling and networking are more or less easy. Regardless, always push yourself to dare a little more. If you are shy, talking to one or a few new people is a success. Practice makes perfect.
If you act like the angry image of salespeople and walk around and network just because it is part of the job, it shines through. If, on the other hand, you are genuinely interested in meeting other people, it will be noticed and give results.
In business context, there are often similar attire, codes of conduct and so on. This makes it difficult to remember who was who. Therefore, always try to stand out in one or more ways. It can be dress, how you act or by being good at telling stories that people remember. Find your way out, so people will remember you more easily.
Make sure to follow up on all conversations quickly. It can be anything from a short email, to adding the person on LinkedIn. Best is always if you can help someone through tips or contacts. If you help someone, they usually help you later.