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14 points help you network effectively

By Kathy Timmons and Terrell Holman    

Networking—meeting and greeting and getting to know other business people—is an essential way to build a smallnetworking business. But many people find it difficult to network easily.

Here are 14 pointers to help you the next time you are in a business-social situation:

1. Perfect your 60-second infomercial. When you meet someone, be prepared to tell what you do in 60 seconds—your 60-second commercial. Within that critical first minute, the person you are talking with should have no doubt about what you do.

2. Understand who your power players are. Power Players are those in your sphere of influence within your industry, to whom you can reciprocally refer business. For example: A realtor would have a home inspector, attorney, and an appraiser as power players, because they would each refer business to each other.

3. Know how to start and end a conversation. To open a conversation, introduce yourself and ask, “Tell me about your business.” To close a conversation, say, “It was a pleasure learning about your business; I have some other individuals I need to meet.” (If the individual is someone you need to spend more time with, close the conversation with, “I’d like to get to know more about you and your business. If it’s OK with you, I will call and set a time for us to continue our conversation.”

4. Think outside the box. Don’t limit your networking to people you “know” will make referrals. If you walk in to a networking function and your target is doctors, but there are no doctors, what do you do? Talk to everyone. 

Just because people in your targeted industry are not in attendance doesn’t mean someone at the function cannot introduce you to your target. Great networkers are excellent referral sources for any industry.

5. Follow up with people you have met within 24 hours. One of the best ways to remember to do this is to make a note on the back of the person’s business card—date, place, and topic of your conversation.

6. Schedule a one-on-one meeting to learn each others’ business. The more you each know about the other’s business, the better you can each reciprocate in business matters and referrals.

7. Attend several networking events to keep your name and company in view. Watch for opportunities, including special networking groups as well as chamber of commerce events.

8. Don’t limit yourself to one networking group. The more exposure you give yourself, the more contacts you will meet.

9. Arrive early and stay late at any event. Be the person who initiates conversations with newcomers.

10. Meet the leadership. The group leader most likely knows everyone and can introduce you to others. Meet that person and get to know him or her.

11. Get involved in high visibility committees. Involvement is the best way to become recognized. Involvement infers commitment, and people want to do business with committed people.

12. Plan to meet five new people at each event. Don’t socialize with only the ones you know.

13. Find common interests with members of your networking group. Meeting people is only the first step toward building business through networking. The real benefit comes through building relationships.

Terry Holman and Kathy Timmons

Terry Holman and Kathy Timmons

14. Don’t forget your business cards! Never leave home without them. People can’t refer you if they don’t have yourcontact information.

Kathy Timmons and Terrell Holman are the co-founders of NetWorth (www.networthjax.com), a referral- based networking organization for Jacksonville area business professionals.

 

 


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