Business networking for IT is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting method you can use to grow your business. But if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your business.
Business networking is a lot more than giving out business cards. It is about building trust. For IT the networking is a lot more than meeting people. It is about connecting with the right people.
Business networking is a lot more than collecting phone numbers. It is about staying in touch, about listening, addressing needs and looking for opportunities all at the same time.
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It is how as a IT we approach relevant business networking sessions that makes it work for us. Networking is about being authentic and genuine, building relationships and trust, and helping others. Although increased sales is the end goal, don’t participate in business networking to sell.
Build relationships and sales will follow naturally. People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. Put your energy, intention and attention on business networking.
Networking may not be enjoyable to some people but we can always make it fun and profitable for businesses. The following are just some of my tips to share with you how you can get the most out of your next networking session:
1. Know the location -It helps to know where the event is going to be held beforehand. It is both frustrating and embarrassing to appear in the wrong place and keep calling the host who is busy talking to his / her guest.
2. Always arrive early - If you can follow this, you will make it as a top networker in no time. I always respect people who turn up not only on time, but well before the event starts. Arriving early is not only for show, you can have a great opportunity by connecting with the host and guest speakers (if any).
3. Bring more name cards -Bringing more name cards can make a difference at times. In a professional business event, it is embarrassing to tell people that you run out of name cards. If the event is expecting 100 people, bring 150 name cards. You will need them for something you will not expect - lucky draws, subscriptions and unexpected turnouts etc.
4. Get to know the host - Most networking events are hosted by certain organization and associations, part of the reason to arrive early is also to have time to talk to the host and tell them what you do (if this is the first meetup). As a host, we respect people who turn up early. This is also an excellent time asking the host if they know of someone who can help or work hand in hand with your business.
5. Find out who will be attending the event - This works if you have a way to know who will be attending the event. If the event is displayed via Facebook or Meetup.com, then you will be able to know who may be attending (via the guest list). After you know who will be attending, spend some time going through their websites and prepare some small talk topic when you meet them. You may even find a common interest between you and the person that will be attending the event =)
6. Prepare your 10 seconds 'what you do' pitch - To be honest, no one is interested in what you do in most networking events. If you fail to impress people during the initial 10 seconds of interaction, you will have to work harder to make yourself memorable. One tip I have here is to stress on the benefit when people ask 'What you do for a living?'. If you are an Accountant, don't reply saying that you are an accountant, just mention that you help businesses to cut down as much as 20% (or some statistics that is realistic) of their costs. An Entrepreneur with common sense will be eager to hear more and ask you how they can do that!
7. It is better to overdress - If you can't figure out the dress code for the event, just dress formally. It won't hurt by overdressing in most events. Appearing in formal dress code also signifies that you respect the host and VIPs of the event. Overdress will also make you memorable for most people especially the host.
8. Advertising Zone? - It is also important to ask the organizer if there is any way to share the benefits that your business will bring to the attendees on the event. Some business networking events will have some sort of 'Advertising Zone' that allows you to place your marketing materials for exposure. Some even have business booth.
9. Identifying the top 3 trades you need - Most businesses cannot survive on their own without forming alliances with leads flowing from one to another. For example, Corporate Services Provider works pretty well with Web Designers, IT Support Companies and Accountants. You need to place the top 3 trades that you are looking for on top of your mind at all times. Doing so will make it easier for you to connect with someone who is in the trade that you are looking for on any networking event.
10. Find out and participate in the event theme - Some monthly or Bi-monthly events do organize networking themes at times. For example, an event may request everyone to turn up with red-white theme in the month of Aug (Singapore National Day). Have fun and participate in the theme for the event. Participating in the theme also show that you are giving support to the host or organizer.
Sounds easy? Try them out in your next networking opportunity!
Identify which networking events you should attend. Pick groups that’ll help you achieve your goals. Find venues that make sense for your business. When you register for an event, schedule it like a meeting.
Determine how often you should be networking. How many times in a week, month, or quarter? Visit as many groups as possible.
Attend events with a plan and always try to learn something new. Prepare yourself for the event. Develop open-ended questions to ignite a conversation. Bring business cards but don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Give cards to those who ask you for it. Try to sit with strangers. Don’t forget to mingle.
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Keep track of people you meet. Keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection. Establish a mutual beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients/ customers. Meet with the group members individually so you get to know them better and try to build quality connections. Consider other group members as resources. focus on the group; listen and think about how you can help them. Focus on giving. Build trust within the group.
There are many ways you can succeed in network marketing and earn a decent living. But there are many more ways in which you can fail. Unless you know all the angles out there, you're not going to move forward in business. This article will explain some great tips you can use, to help your MLM campaign to flourish.
Keep track of your shortcomings and analyze why they exist.
It is important to keep track of the money you make in your network marketing strategy. There has to be a point where you choose whether or not to continue if you're not making enough profit to survive on. When that point is can be set before you sign up so you won't have any doubt in your mind if that time comes.
While you should build a site for network marketing, social networking sites can help you get started. An interesting and well written blog, frequently updated blog is a good technique to add, can give you a good start. Your network will grow more quickly if you establish your online presence.
When you're engaged in network marketing, it's imperative that you are able to visualize success as you define it. That may seem overly simple, but in network marketing, it's important to be able to visualize the future. After all, your future network size has a lot to do with how successful you will be in this field. Using positive future visualization is an accepted, and widely practiced part of network marketing.
Whether you cultivate the lists from the people who have signed up on your site or you purchase it, it is imperative that you have a rather large email list to help you continue to grow your business.
When building your network marketing business, adhering to a schedule is one of the best things you can possibly do. Setting and sticking to a schedule allows you to treat your marketing efforts like a real business and will keep you from procrastinating and taking lightly what you should be focusing on intently.
Become the leader in network marketing. Use one-of-a-kind promotions to make your creativity to create a campaign that stands out. Try to find a specific niche for your network marketing business, as you should always be as original as possible when marketing.
Avoid using network marketing jargon when you're speaking to a prospective client. There are many phrases that are commonly used within network marketing circles that will not be understood by people who do not work in such a circle. Explain terms if you must use them, but be careful not to talk down to clients.
It is important to be knowledgeable about the product you are selling. Customers are more inclined to join a higher likelihood of joining your network if it is apparent that you fully believe in your product. If you learn about the product enough, you will be able to give truthful testimonials.
Work towards a goal of making money in your sleep. Network marketing CAN lead to passive income through your downline. So make your goal to have enough referrals to pay your bills entirely. After you hit that goal, every new referral becomes "gravy", extra money for you to use for fun things like trips.
Look to the organization's leaders for ideas. Imitating these people will only help you closer to the top.
When recruiting a new lead, speak to them in terms they can understand. Instead of saying why YOU like the job, listen to what they talk about and figure out why THEY would love it. Let them know about perks that fit into their lifestyle, like a flexible schedule.
Video marketing can help you drive targeted traffic to your network marketing websites.
Help your downline by setting goals for them and giving them a reward for achieving them. Hold a contest to see who gets the most referrals in a month and reward the winner with some sort of prize, like an iPad. Building motivation through incentives is an excellent tool for your repertoire.
Look at independent distributors to see how to model yourself when using network marketing professionals are doing and learn from their successes.
When it comes to network marketing, it is extremely important to consider that your content needs to not only be easy to read but also presented in a unique way to your subscribers. This is important because you want people to be attracted to your content as well as be able to digest this information quickly before becoming bored and turning elsewhere.
Choose a network marketing company that has products of interest to you. If you have a passion for these products, you will be able to more effectively market them and may translate to them being more interested.
Avoid dictating goals to potential recruits when you are recruiting for your network marketing program. Telling recruits what they should want out of your program alienates them and destroys the trust that good recruiters develop during the recruiting process. Let your recruits express their own goals and then tell them how your program will fit them.
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As you read previously, there are many ways in which you can reach success, but even more ways to fail. Network marketing is unforgiving and thus, you need to approach it with as much knowledge as you can. What you just read throughout this article, are some great ways to help you succeed. Do not take them for granted.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible IT you must show up regularly and on time, show others how you deal with business meetings and associates. Give quality referrals and leads. If someone gives you a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Take a referral seriously.
Don’t spam on social networks. Use the platforms designed for IT to build relationships and expand your network.
Limit self-promotion. Don’t sell. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can. Share relevant information with others as people love to learn new things. Participate in discussions. Let others know you’re real. Be approachable. Treat your online connections just as valuable as your offline connections.