Use these hot tips to spark your network and ignite your business.
- Set Your Goals
Know your goals: Why do you need to network? What do you want to accomplish? Your goals may change depending on the event you are attending or on your particular business needs. For example: Your goal might be to land new clients, develop alliance partners, reconnect with previous clients, learn from industry experts, or connect with other entrepreneurs for advice and support. At every event you attend and with every person you meet, set your goal in advance.
- Create a Networking Plan.
You need to create a networking plan that includes the people you will meet, the events you will attend, and the organizations that you’re considering joining. Set aside a certain amount of time to dedicate to networking activities, or set a certain number of calls and meetings each week, (or even each day, depending on your goals, priorities and urgency). And every month, create your calendar of events and meetings for the following month. Like any important business project, you need to create a strategic plan, dedicate space in your schedule, and take action.
For example: At a networking event, give yourself thirty minutes to meet three new potential referral source or connect with two VIPS who will agree to schedule a meeting. Once you reach your goal, you can go home, go the gym, relax and talk to your friends, or increase your goal for increased rewards.
- Prioritize your Hottest Contacts.
To be effective and efficient with your networking efforts, prioritize the people who will bring you the greatest results. (Realistically, you can’t follow up with every single person you meet, and you can’t network 24/7. Although some of us raging extroverts would like to). Instead, focus on your best supporters, top prospects and hottest opportunities. Identify the most helpful and encouraging people already in your network – and stay in touch with them regularly, and often. These are the people who want to see you succeed, and they will do whatever they can to support you. Determine your top VIP prospects – such as the hottest clients that you want to work with. Focus on the best ways to connect with them directly (organizations, events, pitches) and/or the most likely referral sources who will help you to connect. Then go after them.
- Create Chemistry.
Show up to events. Set meetings in real life. When you meet someone face to face, you learn so much more about each other and create a much stronger bond than you ever could online. Plan your critical talking points and questions in advance. You want to stay on point while still allowing time for personal conversation and new topics to help you bond. Can’t meet for logistical reasons? Then pick up the phone. You can still learn much more by talking on the phone than you ever could by email. So get off social media, out of your office, and show up.
- Use Warm Introductions. (Not cold calls.)
Cold calls belong in the Ice Age. In this interconnected world, you can use LinkedIn, facebook, google and many other online tools to find mutual connections. The membership directories of your alumni association, professional association or industry organization are also valuable tools for obtaining warm introductions. You can send also an email to a few trusted colleagues with a request to connect and recommend you.
For example: “I would like to ask you for an introduction to the Director of Human Resources at The Big Bank. Their Women’s Network hosts a quarterly Training & Development Day, and Fireball Network’s ‘Red Hot Workshop’ is a very popular T&D program. Would you be able to provide an introduction via email, or set up a conference call, or a quick meeting over coffee?
Obviously, the specifics will vary based on your relationships, and your request. If you have a special situation and you’re not sure how to approach it, contact us for a free consultation.
Now get out of your office, and go get connected.
Do you want to land hot new clients?
Of course you do. And Fireball Network will help you.