Effective tips on networking to help every entrepreneur to build their business
Many business owners have asked me how I became such an effective networker. My response: “The secret to your success is in your daily routine.” Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day; the better question to ask is “how do you use those hours?” When I first began to get out and meet new people, all I had was a simple, one-sided business card.
1. Business Card
I use a one-sided business card because it is simple and to the point. Name, business, phone and email address with the second side left blank. Many people I met with didn’t have business cards, so I used the “two card process.” As I handed my card out, there was a second card underneath so they could write down their contact information and hand it back to me. Every entrepreneur should carry business cards and they should be ready to hand them out at every networking event or opportunity.
When you are in a networking environment, it’s very important to have a positive attitude. After all, you are there to generate business. People around you will remember the way you speak and present yourself. Remember the three-foot distance rule. You want to be in their space but not in their face. Smile and be courteous. Be ready with a mini explanation of what you do. Stephen Covey says, “Begin with end in mind,” in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. You are there to meet and connect and collect business cards with the result of generating business.
3. Key Questions
Many people I speak with always have a challenge initiating conversation. This is easy to overcome. We actually do it every day when we talk about the weather, the sports or the news. In the networking environment, it’s done with the specific intent to learn more about the person you are speaking with. Debra Fine in The Power of Meeting New People talks about being prepared with ice-breaker questions. For example, you could say, “Good afternoon. My name is Terry Grant. I’m from Resolutions Inc. How are you doing?” This can be improved upon with, “Great to meet you, Steve. My name is Terry Grant. What got you started in this industry?” Or “Tell me about how you…” Or “What do you see as the coming trends in your industry?” And if you are just starting out, it never hurts to ask something like, “What kind of advice would you give someone starting out in this business?” These types of questions will definitely get more conversation flowing and may lead to a powerful conversation. Entrepreneurs are seeking ways to voice their passions, talents and experiences to show everyone that it can be done. Networking is and always will be the best way to learn and participate. Put yourself in the arena and learn your hobby or interest, and let it grow by building successful relationships with people who may become friends, associates and, perhaps, lifetime mentors.
JIM PAGIAMTZIS is the owner and founder of Payamgis Enterprises. He works with consultants, entrepreneurs and corporate professionals on effective communication. He will teach you how to get to the next level in your business, through prospecting, effective presentation skills, and customer service. Jim has written articles for Empower.ca and has been quoted by Empower.ca and Happy Worker.ca. He can be reached at 416-894-7859 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his website at www.jimpagiamtzis.wordpress.com