5 Tips and Tricks to Succeed at Networking

Achieve Business Development Goals through Networking


Networking

For some, the word alone is cringe worthy. For others it's an invigorating breeze. Regardless of the way you feel about it, it's necessary for business development. Below are five tips and tricks to become successful at networking.

1. Scope Out the Scene

As a professional, one of our key attributes is the ability to think strategically. Networking strategy is taking the time to identify your target market and identify the events they attend. By putting a strategy behind the execution of networking you are setting yourself up for success at the foundational planning stages. Attempt to find events where your key referral sources are or your target customers will reside. If you attend an event and it isn't everything you hoped for, it is important to remember not to give up.

2. Do Your Homework

Just like a professional athlete studies their opponent in the days leading up to a game, networking and business development is very similar. The willingness to take the time ahead of an event to do some research can make all the difference when attending the actual event.

Some things to consider prior to attending an event:

  • Connect with the attendees via social media (usually LinkedIn is the best option, followed by Twitter).
  • Do a Google search on key attendees and companies to find relevant or interesting news.
  • Understand the schedule of the event and where the opportunities are for networking (sometimes you cannot make an entire event, but attending the networking portion can be the most fruitful.)
  • Identify allies who will also be at the event as they may be able to be the source of introductions at the actual event.
  • By taking the time to do your homework, you are setting yourself up for success.

3. Be Prepared

It amazes me how many professional service providers attend events without at least a business card. It is so important when you're going to take the time to meet someone to ensure you can connect with them after. If it is appropriate bring other marketing materials such as a brochure or flyer to hand out if the opportunity arises. Regardless of your method for success, ensure you are prepared.

4. Set Specific Measurable Goals

When you think about networking events, there needs to be an outcome -- what do you desire to achieve by attending? The natural answer is to say new business. While that is a good outcome, look at it strategically. Set the goal of talking to 10 people, knowing that a meaningful conversation with three of them is considered a success. One of the misconceptions is when people go to events and feel it didn't go well because they ended up with three to five business cards yet they talked to twenty people. If you think about it, that's pretty successful.

5. Follow-Up and Follow Through

What you do after an event is just as important as the strategic planning that went into identifying it in the beginning. Follow up and follow through are crucial to business development.

Some ideal follow up ideas are:

  • Connect via social media
  • Send an email with some type of ask in it
  • Send an old fashioned letter
  • Mail a package with something memorable (this is usually saved for very important contacts that you meet at an event.)
  • Pick up the phone and make a phone call
Regardless of what your follow up method is, it is important to be an action, and it is also important to take the time to track and measure results. Having a system to identify who you are calling and the responses you are getting are all critical in measuring your success. No matter the type of service a professional service provider offers, the foundation for successful business development remains the same. It is a blend of strategy, preparation, goals and follow-up.
Michael S Melfi
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael S Melfi> website | all articles
Michael S. Melfi is an Intellectual Property attorney and Digital Entrepreneur. Michael has a dynamic background that allows him to provide insightful legal services, while creating business development strategies for funding and growth.

Over the last decade Michael founded and led a national multi-media company. As COO & General Counsel, Michael pioneered various experiential and digital marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 clients. As a thought leader and innovator, Michael began utilizing the Internet and various social media platforms to develop an online presence for his company in the top 1% of all websites globally. Since then Michael has worked with numerous national industry leading products and brands to monetize and grow their business digitally.

With the advent of mainstream crowdfunding, Michael has become an expert in the Crowdfunding Industry, helping small and medium-size companies achieve funding goals and business objectives.

Most recently, as a certified Team Advisor in the 45 Day Challenge, Michael has successfully guided individuals on dynamic journeys of personal growth and discovery, utilizing the 6 Steps to Lasting Change and Cycle of Growth. As an Advisor, Michael has encouraged and inspired individuals and teams to:

- Utilize commitment and consistency, taking small actions every day towards their desired outcomes
- Develop compelling visions and challenge perceived limitations
- Leverage the dynamics of intelligent accountability within the program
- Understand and integrate the principles and models of growth, change and conditioning
- Foster connection and support from each other on the team
- Successfully move through the resistance/deception phase of change
- Align their visions and habits with their Identity