DEREK BARBER, a passionate, full-time networker and founder of the J-Biz Lounge, Networking with a twist, shares his tips on making the most of making contacts.
How can you boost your business? Get back to the roots with networking!
It’s as simple as that; you know, the truth is we really only do business with people we like and trust, and never has Face-to-Face business networking been as important as nowadays.
We live in an economic global recession that has affected everyone. If there is anyone out there that hasn’t been affected; please stand up and let us know your secret. Now, we can add another element to this that effects businesses – we also have this automatic, fast, easy to use technological world at our fingertips where the consumer or client is constantly bombarded with products and advertising, emails and 24/7 social media madness on a daily basis, which leaves them totally oversaturated yet left without the so-crucial, personal, trusting bond needed between them and the services or products offered.
I mean, let’s face it, networking is the most powerful and cost-effective way to grow your business after all!
Currently, world-renowned experts are constantly advising serious entrepreneurs to free up between two to six precious hours per week and to invest them into networking.
That leads us to the well-known saying of “it’s who you know,” yet in reality you really should be thinking more on the lines of “who actually knows you?” So, in a nut shell, the only way forward at present is to get dressed up, put on a brave smile and show up to experience the incredible power that networking can do for you and your business.
It’s time to get out of your comfort zone, to mix and mingle with likeminded entrepreneurs. You will actually find that the more events you attend, the more comfortable, and the better you will become at making high impact relationships. You might even find that you enjoy yourself.
Practice your elevator pitch; think about what makes you ‘you’ and your services or products so special.
This is a critical element in the introduction process. You should be able to sum up what you do and your business in a tweet- that is one sentence plus one sentence. You won’t waste the valuable time of others trying to convey a concept and also you will build their confidence in the fact that you know and understand your business so well that you can sum it up succinctly.
When it is your turn to say something, make it count!
Take note, networking is not just about selling; it’s rather more akin to the art of listening, giving and adding value towards other guests and learning to become a connector. My advice to you would be ”Be true to yourself.” There’s no need to over-act, just be natural; after all, we are all in the same boat and attending networking events for the same reason! A further ripple effect you will automatically find is that you will become inspired and motivated by feeding off the energy created naturally by like-minded thinkers. You will meet healthy competitors and quickly learn new things as well as keeping up with new trends, and before you know it you will have become a networking Ninja.
I attend every possible networking event. You can expect to make a minimum of between two to five good contacts. If all you are after is hunting for business cards and then just hurrying back to your TV series you will have missed the boat! Remember it is called networking, not net-sit, or net-eat. Be active and take every guest seriously, don’t misjudge any of them; as you never know who is in his network. The biggest mistake I keep seeing again and again is the lack of effort made in carrying out follow-ups with the people they’ve mingled with during the evening; so don’t destroy the good first impression you make. Remember you need to get back in touch with them within the next 48 hours, ideally, with a good old follow-up phone call.
Hope to bump into you one day or at a J-Biz Lounge event where you will find a great vibe, great people; all designed to help your business grow in a relaxed ambience, assuring your best networking results.
All our events are spiced with special guest speakers, exhibitors, live entertainment, a welcome drink, complimentary snacks, some surprises and more.
Feel free to contact us for useful networking tips, and upcoming networking opportunities in your region.
Let me end with a quote by Zig Ziglar: “If people like you they listen, if they trust you they do business with you.”
Happy networking and maximum success!
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