Skip to content

6 Key Factors for Successful Networking

I can’t say that I’m a networking expert. In fact I actually dislike networking. It drains my energy and I find it exhausting. But, a client recently said to me ‘You either network or you don’t work.’ I agree. Whether you network online or offline, it is an essential part of your business success. In this post I share 6 Things I’ve Learned About Networking in the past 5 years.

What I've learned about Networking

6 Key Factors for Successful Networking

You need to work on your self-intro

I used to go to networking events totally unprepared. I had no clue what I would answer when people asked me the dreaded ‘What do you do?’ question. So what would you say when someone asks you? And don’t tell me ‘I’m a coach’ or ‘I’m an accountant’. That’s just begging for an ‘Ah’ answer and then the other person will tell you all about what he’s doing Winking smile You need to prepare your elevator pitch, explain what you do and who you’re helping – in an interesting way. If you need help creating a jaw-dropping self-intro check out this resource from my colleague Samantha Harley. She’s the best!

You need to listen

Networking is not about you! Yes, in the end the main goal is to get new business. But business is based on trust. So if you go to these events and all you do is talk about yourself and how great you are, no one will be interested. We all love to be listened to, it’s part of being human. As an introvert listening comes natural to me. Introverts are better listeners than speakers. So when Rudolf Klaus, the king of Effective Networking, told me that I didn’t have to be a small talk guru, that I just needed to be a good listener, I was so relieved. Try it out! It’s liberating Winking smile

You need to be personal

You meet all these people for the very first time in your life, and let’s be honest, many of them you’ll probably never meet again. But people do business with people. So if you’re networking and only talking business, you might come over as very professional, but also as very sterile and it will be much harder for people to bond with you. If I get a new client from a networking event, one that has never read any of my blog posts, has never received my newsletter, it’s because we’ve established this special bond during our first meeting. I might have shared my story, discovered a common hobby or otherwise felt like we were a good fit based on our conversation that wasn’t strictly business related.

You can use online tools

If we’re connected online you know that I’m very active there. I do a lot of networking online – and yes it works. But, in Switzerland where I live, shaking hands and exchanging business cards is still an important part of business – one I have neglected in the first years. Now I use a combination of both – online tools and physical networking events.

You need to follow up

Make it a habit to follow up with people you meet offline and invite them to connect on LinkedIn. That’s something I’ve always done, and maybe you’re doing that too. But now I’ll ask you to take it a step further and first of all customize the invitation you send on LinkedIn, mentioning that you’ve just met at xyz networking event and then set a reminder to follow up again 1 week from then. You can send them a resource, follow up on a discussion you had or introduce them to one of your connections that you think might be a good fit. Be helpful, not salesy!

You need to be consistent

Networking is marketing. And you need to market your business all the time, even when things are going well. What if you loose that one big client? Book your networking events into your schedule and make a commitment, just like you commit to publish x number of blog posts per month.

I recommend you listen to my interview with Rudolf Klaus in which we talked more about Effective Networking.

 

 

Sarah Santacroce

Sarah Santacroce is changing the current marketing paradigm. 12 years of running a successful LinkedIn Consulting business inspired a yearning in Sarah to create a global movement that encourages people to bring more empathy and kindness to business & marketing. As a ‘Hippie turned Business Coach’, Sarah hosts the Gentle Business Revolution podcast and works with heart-centered entrepreneurs to question their assumptions when it comes to marketing & give them permission to market their business their way, the gentle way! Thought of as an influencer in her field, Sarah is a frequent speaker at conferences and has been featured on many podcasts and radio shows. Some of the most prestigious universities and Business Schools in the world, including Rutgers University New Jersey, HEC Paris, IMD and EPFL Lausanne hire Sarah to train their students for LinkedIn best practices. Sarah shares a fresh perspective and doesn't shy away from calling things out that no longer work for many of us when it comes to the current marketing model. Her clients sometimes refer to her as ‘the female Seth Godin’. When she’s not working, she loves adventure & traveling, yoga & nature walks or hanging out with her family.

No Comments

  1. […] I have learned a few things in networking and one of them is that you have to give before you get. You can give your time, access to your network or you can give your knowledge. So applying this theory, it makes sense to speak for free! […]

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.