How to be Successful at Networking

I just read a great article about how to be successful in networking. It seems, the biggest mistake people that are new to networking make is they try to sell their services. It’s like a frenzy! Get as many business cards as you can, send a few follow-up emails asking to get coffee or meet to discuss “how you can help them” (with no reply) and then what? You have a whole container of business cards and probably not too many things on the burner…

People that are regulars in the networking circle hate when someone comes around trying to “sell them”. Everyone that goes to networking has an objective, but the real value comes when you help someone else out. It is based on this premise: service. Instead of talking so much about what your business is, where you have worked, and what your qualifications are, listen to them and ask questions about their business. Everyone loves when someone is genuinely interested in what they are doing. Sell them on yourself instead of what you do.

So, what happens next? Getting the business card is still important, but there needs to be some kind of call to action. This article I read by Brennan Dunn is so ingenious with creating a plan for what to do next. He talks about inviting someone to join his “Super Secret Club” which is by invitation only, and is his own networking group. His pitch is that they meet up occasionally to discuss business interests and communicate online with ideas in advertising and marketing for business owners (or whatever it is that YOU specialize in). For example, I am a marketing graphic designer, so my pitch would be “joining an invitation only club where we discuss ways of getting more customers and help each-other out through mutual opportunities.” Once they agree to this, you now have your first person that opted in to be on your email list and to participate in your networking groups with YOU as the leader of the group. If you send regular emails that constantly deliver value in your profession, you don’t have to sell yourself; these bits of information establish you as a leader in your industry.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any “secrets” that you do that you would like to share that have helped you to become more successful or that have lead to landing new clients?

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