Many of you know as a business owner the first thing you need to do is to get out and network. To meet as many people as you can and to get your business cards in all your target markets hands. But did you know that most people who are out there networking are doing it wrong?

For over 12 years now I have been out there networking and getting my name in front of people. 10 years ago I found the secret behind effective networking. Over the last 6 years I have been training entrepreneurs such as yourself on effective networking and to properly follow up. After all, the follow-up process is the MOST important piece of a sales transaction.

Here are a few tips on networking your way to success

  • Have a goal – Before each event ask yourself why am I going? Is your target market there? What are the outcomes you are wanting after each event? Please remember that networking is about building relationships not SELLING.
  • Dress to Impress – When planning your outfit pick something professional no matter what profession you are in. NO jeans, no sweats no jogging pants etc.… You want to let other people know that you are professional and want to see you as professional. Be confident no matter what!!
  • Bring business cards – This one seems really basic but you have no idea how many people I come across who don’t have any. Now there is that time when you are getting new ones, or changed out that purse without them but try not to make it a habit. Also, one thing I love to do is to ask someone for a business card, however I never give them one of mine unless asked. If they don’t ask don’t give it to them. Please do NOT go around the room giving your business card to everyone and not get to know them better.
  • Name tags – Did you know most people put their name tag in the wrong place. The perfect area is the top right corner of your shirt, blazer or blouse. This way when they are shaking your hand it is right there. Think about it, when you go up to someone that you have already met it is so much easier for him or her to recognize your name and remember who you are without the embarrassment of forgetting who you are. Name tags also help others to introduce you to key people in the room.
  • Make an effective introduction – I always like to use the F.O.R.M. process. Which is: Family, Occupation, Recreation, Message/money. You want to get to know that person and start building relationships with them. Let them WANT to do business with you. You should start off by asking them questions about their family, what they like to do, where they like to go on vacation? How long have you been in your business? What do you love about your job? Different questions to get them talking about themselves. Everyone is more comfortable talking about themselves in a more relaxed environment. You can create that for them.
  • Be genuine – Look at them in the eyes, don’t look at your phone, and don’t keep looking around for another prospect. Be in the moment and get to know that person that you are with now.
  • Now all these steps are very important but if you don’t do this next step you will be doing all this for nothing!

  • The most important step here is to FOLLOW UP! – Why attend the event if you are not going to follow up. If you are just going to socialize then that is fine but if you are going to build your business and get some great clients then follow up is KEY! More than 48% of sales professionals NEVER follow up! What? Why? Why go out of your way to attend an event, pay the fees, take time away from working, drive in traffic and then NEVER follow up!

Next weeks blog post will be on follow up and effective ways to create yourself a system to do so. Follow up is easy and fun when you know how to do it and have some great tools to help you along the way.

Make sure you check out next week’s blog for some follow up steps!

By: Tina Torres, CEO, The Gratitude Specialist