It’s all about who you know. From high school and college into the professional world, it is imperative to realize the importance of building and maintaining relationships. Networking doesn’t just involve attending networking events and having a few meet and greets. It involves utilizing already established relationships and building off of those.
As a marketing agency, we are continuously utilizing relationships that we have with ourselves and clients to endlessly grow our clientele and brand. To all my business development junkies out there and new friends who are thinking about going into a communication-based field, take a look at a few tips and tricks to help you leverage your next networking event whether it be in-person or virtually.
If you are in the world of marketing, sales or anything involving communications, it’s natural to strike up conversations with complete strangers. With that being said, sometimes it comes with the ability to talk excessively. Almost to the point where we feel we need to continuously engage our so-called audience. We have an impulse to speak more than we listen.
Show you are genuinely interested in what your audience is saying. Generate positive relationships by listening and then asking questions. When your audience has the sense that you want to learn more, it builds the authentic relationships we seek.
Make it more about them than yourself. Like we talk about listening, don’t continuously try and sell your brand or what your company can do right off the bat. People often make the mistake by jumping the gun and immediately saying “well here is what we can do for you.” Let them tell you what THEY need, rather than you try and sell them on something that they are possibly not interested in.
Sometimes it isn’t all about talking business. Learn about their likes/dislikes. Learn about their family and what they spend their free time doing. Engage with them on a personal level and show what we like to call, your human side. A lot of the times people are more likely to open up if you open up first and allow for them to see that you are a relatable person, not just a salesman for your company.
Focus on a group of two to three people. More often than not a networking event is filled with a variety of businesses and people. The mistake that most people make is that they are trying to interact with as many people as they can. Whether that be introducing themselves and having an in-depth conversation or obtaining a pocket full of business cards. The reality is, a lot of the time that information is lost and you begin to have trouble remembering the important details.
When you focus on making it a goal to connect with two to three people and really get to know about them, their story and their company, it builds that positive relationship we so badly desire to obtain.
Having a conversation with someone at an event is just the first step of many. Networking is a process, and developing a relationship is like any other, it takes time. Don’t forget to follow up with your connection that you’ve made. Include personalized details in your email or phone call to show you truly listened to what they were sharing with you.
When attending an in-person or online webinar, conference or event you typically have a goal in mind. However, with the world’s current state it is important to be open-minded. Take advantage of listening to what other companies are doing during this time, use that to your advantage to ask someone to connect further. Be flexible with your time and work around other’s schedules when possible.
Lastly, utilize your team. Most likely every person on your team is at different stages of their life and their career. If you are struggling with networking or striking up conversations, ask your team for help. Maybe they have a different approach that you can begin incorporating, or maybe they can point out something that you aren’t noticing right away. Develop a practice that works best for you and watch how creating lasting relationships can benefit you and your company.
If you or your company is looking for assistance at this time, you can connect with us to learn more about our marketing and advising services!