Networking can be overwhelming and your mind can be racing with questions:
What events should I attend? Are they a good use of my time? What do I say? What do I want to achieve?
Networking can be used to find a new job, drum up new business, but successful networking all starts with a plan.
1. Determine success for the night
Before selecting an event to attend write down: Who do I want to get in front of? What do I want to achieve? Can my goals be achieved at this event? If the answer is no, DO NOT GO!
Set a specific goal: “3 new contacts”
Quality of contacts must be the mindset- not quantity of business cards collected
Work the room until you find your targets- takes practice
The effectiveness of the networker is about the quality of questions they ask (this helps take off any pressure- make it about them)
Direct the dialogue to learn about the person you are conversing with to find out if they are a prospect
Follow what I believe to be the golden rule of networking:
“How can I help you?” Sample questions to ask:
How did you get involved with this group?
What brought you here tonight?
Why did you get into your line of work?
What separates your company from the competition?
What is 1 thing you hope to accomplish tonight?
3. Slay Moby Dick
Attend networking events where a major target will be in attendance
Set the goal of making contact with this prospect or center of influence
4. Follow up
The new contacts do not mean anything without the proper follow up
Follow up with each contact by including: “I really enjoyed speaking about..” “Could we schedule a coffee to continue the dialogue on?…
Pro tip- write a few takeaways about the conversation on the back of their business card to keep the conversation fresh
Connect with them on LinkedIn the next day
Hope these tips make your networking more effective. Get out and attend an event or two; you never know who you may meet!
Remember: “The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.” Robert Kiyosaki
Ryan Rao is a Principal of Apex Franchise Development Group and is a franchise development expert who has grown multiple franchise based businesses into national and international brands. Franchising has allowed him to help individuals realize their dreams of business ownership, while permitting them to experience the independence, flexibility, and freedom that comes with being a business owner. He also serves as a franchise consultant, and is a personal growth advocate.