Business networking for CEO 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 CEO 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 CEO 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.
I consider myself to be fairly competent at networking. Even so, I still got intimidated when I thought about how to network with senior executives at my company. I probably experienced some of the same self-doubt you have gone through:
Why would they want to build a relationship with me? I don’t work with them day to day
They are probably too busy to connect with me.
I don’t want to come across like I’m “kissing up.”
How do I ask for a meeting?
In the last few months, I learned five great tips on networking with senior executives. They have helped me authentically connect with three senior folks at my company. Conversations with them have helped build my work brand and made me appreciate how much I can learn from each of them. Here are the five tips. I hope they can help you in your career.
Tip 1: Less is more – identify which senior executives you want to network with. Look at all the senior folks in your company and choose, at most, three executives you want to network with. Focusing on building deep relationships with a few of them is better than trying to get to know all of them. Here are the criteria I used to decide who to network with.
Recommended by others you trust – Not all executives are created equal. Many people in leadership positions still only care about themselves. It’s important to find out about their reputations and then figure out which ones are genuinely interested in developing people.
Relevance to your work – Have you worked with his or her teams? It would make more logical sense to reach out for a meet and greet if there is some level of connection between your work and their sphere of influence
Gut feeling from past interactions – If you have had any direct interactions with a senior executive, then trust your gut instinct. Some will seem approachable and easy to talk to and some will seem aloof and guarded. One of the relationships I built with an executive was purely based on our informal chats in the hallway about our personal lives, travels, etc. She is now an invaluable mentor for my career.
Tip 2: Take action – Be proactive and reach out for a first meeting. This is by far the hardest tip to follow for most people. Many of us have these ideas for a long time but never actually do anything about it. Just do it! Only when you practice, will you get better at this skill. You may not always do it right, but that’s still better than doing nothing.
Start with the executive you have the most personal contact with – You will have the best chance of success with someone you already know. Not only will this interaction build your confidence, but that executive can coach you on how to approach others along with who else you should approach.
Make it a one-on-one meeting – While face to face is preferred, it is not always possible. A phone call can be just as effective. Be flexible with timing – Offer options and leave it for the executive to choose the time that works for them. Be persistent but respectful – It’s not only possible that it may take several tries before a meeting can happen, but executives are busy and may cancel on you. Don’t take any of it personally.
Tip 3: Ask for Coaching or Offer to Help – This addressed my fear about how to come across to a senior executive. The most common mistake people make in approaching executives is asking something like the following: “How do I get to senior management, like you?”. It may seem like you are complimenting the executive, but you actually come across as self serving and burdensome. Instead, you should try either of the following:
Ask for coaching and advice: This will help your career, and it naturally compliments the leader you are reaching out to. Offer to help: Askg something like, “How can I be more effective in my role as a partner of your team?” or “What can I do to improve how we do xyz?”. Neither approach is focused on climbing the career ladder. Instead, they are about reaching out to learn and become more effective at your job.
Tip 4: Prepare to Listen and Ask how to Stay Connected – If you successfully get a first meeting, you will most likely get 15 to 30 minutes to talk to him/her. Come to the meeting with, at most, 1 or 2 questions and prepare to listen. This is not about you talking their ear off about your accomplishments or perspectives. This is time to listen to their guidance and perspective. Listen and have them clarify what they are sharing with you.
Assuming the meeting goes well, finish by asking if it’s okay to reach out in a few months to reconnect. You will be able to tell from their response whether or not they want to continue the relationship.
Tip 5: Be Thankful and Follow Up – Building relationships with anyone will take more than one interaction. Just like any networking effort, it’s important to be thankful and follow up
Once you’ve had your first meeting, be sure to send a simple ‘thank you’ email or note.
More importantly, if an executive provided advice for you to follow – like ‘you should also talk to these two people on my team’ or ‘this is how you can approach the work next time’ – once you have done those things, let them know. This will help you build your reputation and relationship with them.
Last but not least, schedule a second meeting. We would like to heard your comments.
Are you networking with senior executives today? Why or why not? Have these tips helped? Share your comments and questions below.
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.
While competence and skills were not an issue, I still had to face an ordeal while hunting for a job in Singapore. He shares the lessons he has picked up along the way to help other Indians hoping to relocate to Singapore in search of a better career and higher salary. Problems I faced as an Indian looking for job in Singapore by Kamal Kumar When I quit my job in India and moved to Singapore (SG) for my job search. The reason was a bit personal. My wife had relocated to Singapore 2 years ago.
Before leaving my job, I completed my basic search about the job market and industries in SG. I also spent a 1-month vacation in SG during June’15. During that period, I was selected by 2 employers in SG but offered a salary that was lower than my expectation. So, I declined the offer. But that gave me the confidence that I can get job in SG without any problems. I went back to India, resigned after a 2-month notice period and shifted to SG as a full-time job seeker. I came here with expectations of getting an opportunity that was better than my Indian job. I was in manager position in the manufacturing industry in India. During the first 2-3 months, I was getting jobs of lower salary compared to my Indian job. I kept declining those offers. After 3-4 months, the interview calls drops and the tough time began. One thing that kept me calm and balanced was that I was actively involved in the local community services and participating in the events organised by ‘InterNations‘.
These activities not only helped me in utilising my time productively, but also in creating a local community network. The gap in my career was increasing day by day. That’s when I started looking for jobs back in India through my contacts. I’ve got good offers from India. I am now looking ahead to move back in India and get my career back on track. During these tough times, I learnt many lessons that I would like to share with other Indians who are looking for jobs in Singapore. How to get a job in Singapore from India What makes Singapore a good country for Indians to work and live in? Singapore is developed country with one of the most successful economies in the world. SG is an attractive destination for Indians to work, as one can fulfill the dream of earning a salary in dollars while staying close to India.
There is good competition between highly-skilled natives and expats. If you are looking for job in SG, here are some topics and questions that may cross your mind. How to get a work permit for Singapore? Which is better – search for a job in Singapore while working in India? Or go to Singapore and then search for a job? Are my skills or experience in demand in SG? Will I get the job in SG? What’s my backup plan if I don’t?
Getting a work permit in SG The primary question that may come to your mind is – do I need work permit as a foreigner in Singapore? Unlike in USA or Canada, in Singapore, firstly you need to secure a job, and then a Work Pass will be issued by employer. For foreign professionals searching for manager and executive level jobs, candidates need to earn at least $3,300 a month and have acceptable qualifications. For high-earning existing Employment pass holders or overseas foreign professionals, the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.
You may be thinking. “Can I search for a job if I am living in SG on a dependent pass?” Yes, you can apply for Singapore jobs even if you are there as a dependent. After securing a job, the employer can issue a letter of consent with Ministry of Manpower or the employer may apply for an employment pass. Search for Singapore jobs from India or after going to SG? Can I search for job in SG while working in India? Yes, you can. However, employers prefer face-to-face interviews and they also prefer foreigners staying in SG. It would be little bit difficult to find a job in SG while staying in India, unless you already have strong network in SG that works for you and prospective employer agree to complete the selection process online.
How to find jobs in Singapore? To start with your job search, there are lots of online job portals that provide lot of information such as JobsCentral.com.sg, sg.JobStreet.com, JobsCentral.com.sg. Another important source is the main English language newspaper in Singapore, The Straits Times, publishes a “Classified Jobs” and “Executive Appointments” supplement every Saturday that lists a wide range of job opportunities. The online version of these job listings can be found in the ST701 portal. Some companies hire recruitment agencies to help them find candidates. Some reputed recruitment agencies include GMP, Adecco, Kelly Services, Hudson, Michael Page, Robert Walters and Recruit Express.
While searching online for jobs in SG, you will notice many job postings stating that Singaporeans/PR should apply. There are fewer job openings for foreigners. The reason is that Employers in Singapore are granted some quota from Ministry of Manpower, in which they can hire foreigners. In simple terms, if there are 10 job openings in the market, it may be possible that only 2 are open for foreigners and the rest for Singaporeans/PR holders. Another important point is that in India, you can find thousands of job consultants who promise you jobs and extract a good amount of money from you for resume services and job search. There is no such thing as a paid consultant to find jobs in Singapore. You can hire consultants for resume services, career counselling and coaching services in SG to advise you on the right path. But the job consultants work for the company not for the candidates. They look for the right people for the job, not jobs for the people.You can contact recruitment consultants to discuss about the job opportunity.
Are my skills & experience in demand in the Singapore job market? Before jumping into the job search, it is very important to take a closer look of the job market and prepare for the sector that offers best employment opportunity. Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Work Force Development Agency publish a labour market guide, listing jobs which they expect to be in demand in the upcoming year. It includes information on expected labour shortages in different industries, average wages, and the relevant skills and qualifications for these jobs. It is advisable to consult the skills in demand list on Ministry of manpower website.
Will I get a job in Singapore? What’s my backup plan? One of the main reasons of not getting the first job in SG is being inflexible and not willing to compromise with a low salary jobs that you are offered. So, it is advisable to accept the first job even if it is lesser than your expectation. It is important to first get your foot in the door. You should try to remain flexible and keep the options open. However, you should also keep cost of living in SG in mind before accepting any offer. It is advisable to keep in touch with your previous employers and other contacts in India. It might be possible that after 6 to 7 month of job search in SG, you have to come back to India to have your career on track. So be flexible, act smart, be ready to learn new things, expand your professional network and take right decision on right time. Good luck for all professionals, looking for job in Singapore.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible CEO 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 CEO 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.