By nyctregion13831870, Jul 25 2016 04:44PM
A misconception about networking that is made all too often is focusing on the numbers. People cast a wide net, hoping to gain an abundance of leads. Only to find they have come up empty-handed. Quantity and quality rarely correlate. When building your network, your focus should be on gaining quality leads rather than focusing on the quantity. Yet, that is easier said than done. Here are a few steps to follow that will help you make the most out of networking.
Inquire – Ask questions. There are three key questions that you should ask after exchanging business cards.
How did you get involved in your field?
What do you like most about your industry?
What does your ideal client look like?
Listen – Actually listen to their answers and build a genuine rapport. Instead of being self-involved and making the conversation about yourself, be genuine and show interest by listening to what they have to say. Don’t ask questions expecting to give your answers, and don’t be afraid to leave a little time for chitchat.
Follow up – Go beyond a generic follow up email. Think outside the box and do your homework. Develop a strategy that is mutually beneficial; yet, expect nothing in return. Instead of asking for their customer database or expecting them to refer others to you, find out how you can collaborate to help each other.
Be Patient – Building quality leads takes time. Like any relationship, building trust takes time, and quality leads equal trust. To build trust, treat them like a potential client by showing them your product or service and how you treat clients.
Follow these steps and your leads will gradually begin to buy in, and then a genuine relationship will be built, which will result in a quality and active referral network.
~ Tina Campbell, Regional Partner, Master Networks NY & Western CT