One key to business success is the ability to network. Through networking you meet potential customers, referral sources, employees, hiring managers, etc. Networking is about finding opportunities, yet many people don’t understand networking. The easiest way to think about it is like a romance.
- Think long-term: You’re not there for a one night stand, you’re there to find a partner. That means getting to know people. Ask questions and listen to what people are saying.
- Don’t sell: Networking is not a sales call. Don’t push yourself on people and don’t try to sell them.
- Introduce yourself: It’s a natural instinct that people have to talk to people they know. Networking is about meeting new people. Make an effort to talk to new people and be accessible to people who approach you.
- Follow up: The networking is the introduction. You still have to ask your partner out. Follow up and go for coffee to get to each other better.
- Keep going back: I was once told by someone, “Networking doesn’t work. I went once and nothing happened so I didn’t go back.” Networking is about building relationships. You need to keep networking on a regular basis so that people will get to know you. Stick with it.