Networking is a means to building and creating relationships - it gets you noticed, advances your business, opens doors and gives you industry support.
If everything is digital these days, why is networking so important? We learned that it isn't just your product that sells, it's the people that sell. Networking is a means to building and creating relationships - it gets you noticed, advances your business, opens doors and gives you industry support.
Instead of gravitating towards people you already know, challenge yourself to speak to new faces. Don't be afraid to join a group that you are unfamiliar with and being friendly and introducing yourself, they will welcome you and introduce you into the conversation as everyone remembers being in the same situation as you.
When networking, focus more on getting to know one another versus closing a deal then and there. You are more likely to walk away with strong contacts than you are to walk away with a closed deal.
Make sure to exchange business cards and to explain briefly what it is that you do, but don't make this the entire focus of the conversation. People are more likely to do business with someone they remember as being friendly.
After your quick introduction of who you are and what you do, make the conversation about them. Show genuine interest on who they are, what they enjoy and get the talk going that way. Make sure to make a mental note for later on on what their interests are, as this is how you can make a more personalised approach in the future for that relationship.
Of course you should participate in the conversation, but ultimately people enjoy being heard. Pay attention to what they are saying, as this will not only tell you a lot about them but it will also show you what their focus is - it might or not be a person you want to do business with.
It's great to see people and be seen when networking, but the most important part is following up. This is your opportunity to make a lasting impression - make sure to add them on LinkedIn with a personalised message, and send them an e-mail with any important topics you may have discussed.
Remember: even B2B networking ends up being human to human - keep yourself relatable and friendly and people will remember you and want to connect with you!
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