Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)
Building up to The Business Show :: Africa in September, let’s not forget that this presents the most powerful B2B networking opportunity. It’s no secret to say that the best networkers double and treble sales quickly without spending any money.
To be a world-class networker is quick and easy, so let’s see how and then go for it.
There is little doubt that one of the key success ingredients is to grow your business by building relationships through networking. Networking must be a key part of your marketing strategy. Business networking can provide the ultimate platform to meet like-minded individuals, build relationships and get to know other businesses.
The aggressive hard-sell days belong to a different era. One thing is to adopt the networking strategy and the other is to become a world-class networker.
If you can get to know people and lots of them through various networking forums, large and small, and have the right attitude, very few won’t want to do business with you.
What we have so often said before; “People buy from people because they like them”- that’s it. Be a nice guy, start networking and build lasting quality relationships. This will give you an abundance of ongoing quality prospects for doing great business over time.
Allow me to share some key ideas on how to become a world-class networker:
Always be prepared:
Prior to The Business Show ensure that you are aware of all the activities over the two-days. Make sure you have enough personal contact information at hand, a unique handout etc.
Have your ‘elevator’ pitch ready:
It’s important to be able to articulate what you do in a short and precise manner. If there is more than one person from your company you should all be saying the same thing – consistency is key! Make sure you explain how your business benefits that particular industry. We will be touching on the elevator pitch in JumpStart down the line.
Don’t blend in with the crowd:
I don’t mean you must be radical, but let’s not conform within the gathering.
Focus on the moment and be fully engaged:
Listen carefully, keep eye contact, never interrupt and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Win people over by sharing enthusiasm for what you do within that industry.
Exude positivity with a smile:
What is key to understand is that whenever you are in a group of people, always approach with an attitude of listening, getting to know others, seeing if you can help others and of course exude positivity with a smile.
Think like a doctor and take people’s pain away:
Listen carefully, ask meaningful questions, keep eye contact, never interrupt and take a genuine interest in others. Don’t be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.
You’ll have more chance of success by making genuine conversation, building rapport and showing interest in what the other person has to say. Remember, you’re trying to develop a relationship with a new contact and maintain a good reputation within the industry. The selling comes a bit later, once you have established a meaningful relationship.
Create value in your interaction:
Don’t just dominate the entire conversation for the sake of it. Be smart on one issue that will give you that edge. People will remember you for that. Transfer value to others, which of course creates value for you.
It’s important to follow up on all your connections. Remember to be interested and remind them of who you are and what you do, provide them with access to more information and a means of progressing the relationship.