Networking can open a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities if you begin with the correct approach. For many people, however, it’s difficult to network effectively. This can be because of their introverted personalities, uncertainty about the process, or lack of knowledge of networking in general.
If you’re one of these people, there’s no need to worry. We’ve gathered information from professionals who network consistently and reap the benefits so you can learn some pointers from their experience. These tips can help you see more success, faster.
1. Don’t Keep Selling
As a business person, it’s downright instinctive for most of us to jump right into trying to sell ourselves to the other person. It seems even more natural if you’ve researched the individual ahead of time and discovered what a great fit they’d be for your needs.
The problem is, networking isn’t about selling. It’s about connecting. The people you’re building relationships with must be able to trust you in order to foster success and trust doesn’t come from being sold. Trust comes from seeing them as a person and searching for common ground before bringing your business into the relationship.
2. Remain Helpful
You should never outright expect something in return when you help others, but offering your assistance may benefit you in the long run. Even if they can’t help you directly, they’ll remember the effort you put forth. Chances are they’ll be more than willing to repay the kindness when you need it.
Staying helpful can also improve your reputation. As we said, networking means building a foundation of trust and respect. It’s much easier for others to place their faith in you when they know you can be counted on to help. And last but not least, helping others is satisfying and uplifting on a personal level.
3. Be Confident
Networking isn’t a task for the timid. Even if you’re introverted by nature, you need to be bold in some situations. Don’t worry about what could go wrong or negative feelings, but instead look forward to the benefits both of you will be able to enjoy.
4. Keep the Relationship Strong
Few things feel worse than putting forth the effort to start a relationship and then letting it fall apart shortly thereafter. Remember that networking connections require attention and dedication in order to work. It’s not enough just to meet them – you must remain consistent and engaged. Keep in touch through phone calls, emails, and in-person visits and always be willing to help them out.