Over the years, we’ve seen some dramatic changes in the business world and much of this is a result of advancements in technology. However, the same principles of business still apply and this will always be the case. If we use networking as an example, our topic for today, the platform for marketing might have changed somewhat but the principles are exactly the same as they were 50 years ago. We want to help you become a more confident networker to stand out amongst the ever-growing crowd.
Offline - Firstly, we’re going to deal with the traditional form of networking which is face-to-face. To this day, people would much rather trust a person face-to-face than over the internet so it’s still relevant in 2017 and it will be beyond this year. If you want to be a confident networker, the first tip we suggest is knowing everything there is to know about your business. If you have all the information and really believe in your business, this will really shine through when you talk to potential clients, potential partners, and even potential investors.
After this, treat the event like you’re enjoying an evening with friends (without the alcohol and potentially deal-breaking dancing). As long as you remain calm, talk slowly, and stand up straight, you won’t be cowering and talking faster than everyone else in the room. If you have to, pretend to be an alter-ego when networking (more people do this than you realize). Instead of the shy person everyone knows, step out of habit and become the confident person that believes in a good business…your own business.
Once you have these basics, don’t just jump into the advertisement of your business. Instead, start a conversation and build the trust between you and your audience whether this is one or even four people. From here, you can start to talk about your offering and why you’re different. Instead of saying ‘we’re a financial solution’, for example, change this to ‘we’re the best financial solution’. Even as a small or medium-sized company, you need to have the confidence that you can outperform the larger businesses. If you don’t believe it, who else will?
Finally, never leave a conversation without handing over your business card. Despite all the changes in technology as we discussed previously, business cards are still winners because the recipient will find it again when they empty their pockets at home; it reminds them of the conversation rather than letting them forget you.
Online - Moving into the world of the internet, networking here can be a little harder because we don’t tend to trust people who approach us first. Unfortunately, this is the way it’s likely to stay in the years to come because there are too many scam artists hurting thousands each year. With this in mind, a kind introduction will always be necessary; without a ‘Dear Mr/Mrs Smith’, your email will get closed in a record time.
If you know this person, get the common link in early before they close the email. Whether you met them at a conference or simply attended the same university, this helps to build trust. From here, you can offer a light compliment (without being false) before then proceeding to your request. If you’re networking on social media, remember that the relaxed nature of the site doesn’t give you free reign to message them as you do your friends.
Summary - With more companies looking for people they can trust in the business world, networking is only set to get more important in the coming years. As long as you follow these tips, there’s no reason why you can’t find success and therefore grow in 2017 and beyond!