Networking is one of the most difficult—and rewarding—ways for salespeople to build their books of business. It’s difficult because most people do it in a way that’s inefficient and ineffective. It’s rewarding because, when done correctly, it can lead to a huge increase in closed deals. Here are five steps to networking like a pro:
1. Get warmed up. When you show up at a networking event, chances are that you’ll be low on energy and by yourself. Rather than immediately rushing for a drink at the bar, get social. Go up to the first three people you see and just talk to them—ask them how they are, what’s going on, and start a friendly conversation.
2. Ask “What brings you here?” This question will get people to open up about why they’re at the event and what they do for a living. Starting a conversation with this prompt will allow you to strategically decided whether you want to spend more time talking to the person at hand, or move on.
3. Learn about people’s businesses. Most people go to networking events to talk about themselves and their businesses. Don’t be one of those people! Learn about what everyone else is doing. By understanding other people’s businesses, you can quickly determine whether someone is a prospect for you, but you can also learn about who else at the event you might be able to connect them with—which brings us to the next tip.
4. Make connections for others. Once you’ve asked about other people’s businesses, you’ll soon learn who they’re looking to meet at the event. Use your newfound information to connect different people at the event. Become a connector and you’ll create goodwill at the event and be the hit of the party.
5. Find connectors. It’s great to be a connector yourself, but you should also find other long-term connectors. These people are familiar with the networking group, know everyone and are very social. Find them and ask them for help, and whether they’d be willing to introduce you to some people. In all likelihood, they’ll be happy to walk with you around the room and introduce you to whomever you want to meet. Make sure to get their contact info and stay in touch with them. Networking connectors can become some of your closest allies when it comes to helping you develop your business.
By applying these five simple steps to networking, you’ll find that your networking will yield more sales results than ever before. Which of these steps do you use already? Please share below in the comments.