1. Know your market– Identify your current audience and then ask yourself are they your perfect customer? If the answer is no, then it is time to change your marketing strategy. Asking yourself some key questions in order to develop a profile of your ideal customer is a good place to start; where do they hang out? What geographical location are they based in? Are they family orientated? Do they have specific hobbies? This will give you the basis and motivation to then seek them out, adapt your message toward them and bingo- watch them come to you!
2. Be prepared – I could go into all manner of preparation techniques, so here is one solid nugget: be the best version of YOU. This could come in many forms, but basically do whatever you need to do to get into the right mindset for feeling your best and looking your best, because first impressions count and any other version of you simply will not be doing you or your brand justice.
3. Set a target- If you prefer to just ‘turn up and see what happens’ serendipitously at networking events thenI am actually all for this. Natural human behaviour helps us to connect and uncontrived networking is often where the magic happens, however there is nothing wrong with having a loose strategy in place and by this, I mean know who you are looking to connect with (remember your perfect customer)? Then create a ‘wish list’. A list of your top ten/twenty/thirty ideal companies or people who you want to work with and use this as part of your road map to finding them.
4. Communicate creatively – I talk about this in depth A LOT and so if I had to handpick a couple of useful tips for you on this, I would say be creative with your conversation. In the words of Tony Robbins; “Successful people ask better questions and as a result they get better answers”. This in turn will make you more memorable and build upon your reputation as a leader in your industry- yes all of this.
5. Relationship management – We all know that the worst kind of networkers are those whose sole goal is to ‘work the room,’ hand out business cards first before even speaking to you, treat the event like a competition as to who can speak to the most amount of people in the shortest space of time, try to sell ‘at’ you and expect to ‘land’ a deal on their first visit. Recognise any of these in yourself? It is time to change your approach.
I will say one thing and one thing only – take the time to get to know the person behind the brand and allow others to get to know you too- authenticity is the key to relationship building.
6. Follow up, follow up- Keep the conversation going- again creatively by experimenting with different platforms of communication; met online in the first instance? Drop them a personal video message, send them something by post – establish your position in the relationship by showing initiative, effort, and care- be more human.
7. Enjoy it! Integrating business networking into your lifestyle, will ensure it becomes more convenient and enjoyable. Choose events that attract your perfect customer and gravitate towards formats that suit your schedule and preference. Doing your research beforehand will minimise wasted time and disappointment, however, do still make the most of the experiences that did not quite meet your expectations – you never know where they could lead.
Fiona Duncan-Steer, RSViP
For more tips on business networking on line download my free E-book – https://rsvip.vipmembervault.com/products/courses/view/1033730 www.fionaduncansteer.comwww.rsvipnetwork.co.uk