Taking the work out of networking

We know we need to get “out there”  to increase our customer base and so we need to “go networking”. Many of my clients are fearful and anxious about what networking actually involves and even more so when they find it involved going into a room full of strangers. So here’s the Gingham Cloud 9 on networking: –

  1. Do your research – if possible, see who else will be attending, to see if and how they fit with what you do.
  2. Be on time. I can’t stress this enough. Or even better, early. You can chat to the organiser about the set-up and what sort of people will be there. Many of the best conversations come about while people are milling about.
  3. On arrival, head for the refreshments. You’ll look determined and like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t feel like this) and  having a drink (even if it’s just coffee) will give you something to focus on while you look about you and see whether there are any openings for conversation in the vicinity.
  4.  On which note, remember that just because someone isn’t a customer now, that they might be in the future. If not them, their partner (personal or business) might just need what you’re selling
  5. A conversational opening can be small talk about the coffee/drinks but equally can be two or ideally three people facing one another where you can gently join the conversation.
  6. Be interested – good opening questions are “how are you doing today?” or “so what’s keeping you busy at the moment?” and then wait. Allow the other person to talk to you. Listen and show you’re listening.
  7. On which note, remember that just because someone isn’t a customer now, that they might be in the future. If not them, their partner (personal or business) might just need what you’re selling
  8. Make sure you’ve worked on your “one sentence” e.g. “I’m an accountant and I help small businesses pay less tax”
  9. Most importantly – make sure that you follow up afterwards. It’s easy to connect with people on LinkedIn in the room (more on this in a forthcoming blog) but if you don’t follow up and arrange a further meeting it’s unlikely the person will look you up.
  10. What are your top tips for Networking? Gingham Cloud is launching Co-Lab a mastermind running in Herts in February 2019 – get in touch to book.

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