7 Powertips to Help You Make the Most of Your Networking Efforts in 2019
How was your 2018? Did you make the targets and build the business you wanted to? How was your lead generation and networking? Did it reap the rewards you were after?
We certainly got out there and kept spreading the word about SalesRadar at events and exhibitions. The results speak for themselves with more users than ever and of course the highly anticipated free version of SalesRadar that launched in September.
Networking helped us to grow this platform and the trusting relationships and strong links that we built have given SalesRadar a welcome boost into the business world.
We’d like to share with you some ideas to make that happen for your business in 2019.
Add value to the network
Possibly the biggest misconception about networking is that you join to get access to a room of customers. It doesn’t work quite like that. We’ve certainly found 100s of customers at networking breakfasts, lunches, and exhibitions all over the UK, but networking isn’t just about turning up.
We find that when you add value to the network, you refer to others you meet, and you use your own connections to make those events work better and drive more business, the same happens to you.
Powertip 1: Aim to be more valuable to the people in the room than they are to you.
Show up in your network
Another misconception or maybe the reason that networking doesn’t work for everyone is that it takes time and effort and you really have to take the time to ‘show up’. What we mean is that you need to be there over and over and when you do go, you add to it and ‘show up’ as a presence at that meeting.
You don’t need to be a loud mouth; just invest in being a great networker by referring, listening, adding value with talks and advice to members, and generally being a consistent asset to the room or network.
Powertip 2: Get noticed with consistency and value that you add every time you attend.
Try new networks
As a ‘creature of habit’ like most of us are, it can be very easy to stick to the network you’re in or one that everyone else talks about or goes to. It can be quite limiting to do this though. Maybe in 2019 you could look to try some new networks and go out for new links and relationships?
If you’re an active networker already, then you’ll rarely be starting from scratch as you’ll take your connections with you and when you aim to add value and show up in new places you’ll quickly become an asset to those new places.
Powertip 3: Start
over in 2019 but take the previous year’s connections and learnings with you.
Plan your ‘pitch’
At most networking meetings you’ll get a chance to speak for around 40 seconds to a few minutes. Even when there isn’t a round of quick pitches it’s worth having a rehearsed or at least planned pitch as we’ve seen opportunities at some events for just a few to pitch and this is often drawn at random.
Think about what you want people to do after your pitch. Is it to think about a referral for you? Come and talk to you? Buy your services? Make sure you practice but also plant that call to action at the end for maximum effectiveness.
Powertip 4: Plan your pitch and drive the action at the end.
Use networking to start conversations
Networking events are very often just the beginning. You’ll do better when you view networking meetings as the start of relationships rather than just for the the chance of a sale. The best way to play these conversations is by caring about the other person. This is good for business and you will soon start to see what Dale Carnegie was on about when he famously said:
“You close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you!”
Use social media and other online tools and messaging services as well as email to keep in contact too.
Powertip 5: Networking helps you start the conversations that close the deals.
We know this sounds obvious, but you must keep in contact with the connections you make. We’ve shared a lot of advice on this blog on how to do that and we even built a follow-up system that’s included in the free version of SalesRadar.
Following up is where the really great networkers make the networking work and once again this doesn’t need to be about you. Being interested in them, adding value to the networking and showing up are powerful – so keep doing it!
Powertip 6: Be the conversation continuation and grow your value in the network whilst staying front of mind.
When it works, don’t fix it!
If you start to see success from your networking, don’t stop! We have been guilty of this in the past as have many others. Networking will eventually start to bring business and you can be guilty of thinking that that’s it and the leads and sales will keep on coming… but that’s not how it works. You need to maintain your pipeline.
Networking is constant and the more you go – so long as you’re adding value, showing up and following up and referring – the more it works. One of our favourite networks is 4Nworking and at the end of each meeting the group leader shares this insight from the script: “The more meetings you go to, the more it works for you!”.
Keep going, keeping doing what’s worked and you’ll get more success.
Powertip 7: Build it and then build it some more. You have to fill the car with fuel to keep driving it.
Make 2019 the year you have a system…
And above all else, use a CRM to track and systemise your networking.
SalesRadar makes this really easy to do and you’ll see great rewards for spending a little time after the meetings scanning your cards and then logging in weekly to follow-up and nurture the connections in your network.
Good luck this year and please do take us with you to make that networking work!