Business revolves around relationships–and you form business relationships through networking.
Therefore, if you want to become more successful in business–it makes a whole lot of sense to become better at networking.
This page goes over eight networking tips you can leverage to build better relationships and achieve better business success.
Even if you’re not a natural social butterfly, these tips will help you meet more people, form more meaningful relationships, and transform those relationships into new customers, clients, and opportunities.
Be honest. Are you attending all of the networking events that you could be?
At the end of the day, networking is a numbers game. The more people you meet, the better your chances are of forming a new and fruitful relationship with another individual.
It’s not always possible to attend every event, especially if they’re spread out across the country or the world. But if you’re like many professionals, you have a few networking events you attend yearly–and you don’t really break from that routine frequently, if at all.
Make a list of all the networking events that make sense for you to attend. Then, do an honest assessment of whether or not you think the event will be worth your time. Your goal should be to actively decline going to events, rather than not knowing about them in the first place.
It’s easy–and fun–to talk to people you already know. And there’s nothing wrong with chatting with existing friends and colleagues. For the less socially inclined among us, these conversations with existing connections can “take the edge off” and help us feel more comfortable.
But avoid the trap of talking only to people you already know. That’s the easy path to take, but remember–you’re here to form new relationships, not just nurture your existing ones.
This is a big reason why we recommend attending networking events by yourself. Doing so all but forces you to go outside of your comfort zone and talk to new people. Sure, it may be slightly uncomfortable at first–but other people, especially those who also came alone, will love you for being the one to get the conversation going.
The last thing you want to do is get home and realize you talked only to the same people you talk to every day.
Everyone is unique. What is a personality trait of yours that makes you unique–and how can you leverage that to catch peoples’ eyes and get them talking?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. This startup founder decided to wear bright orange shoes–his favorite color–to an important networking event. Without being prompted, the investor he had specifically come to the networking event to talk to noticed him and exclaimed, “I have got to talk to the man wearing those f--king shoes!”
Those are stellar results–especially considering all the startup founder did was wear a pair of shoes that he liked.
You might even go beyond shoes. Stephan Murtagh, AKA “The Exhibition Guy”, is known for wearing standard suits, but with wacky combinations of socks, ties, and shoes. He’s not dressing up in a clown costume to get noticed, but he is getting creative with how he dresses to stand out from the masses of gray, navy, and black that you usually encounter at networking events.
An easy way to make yourself memorable in the sea of faces is with a Mobilo smart business card.
Instead of handing out your paper business card–which will likely get lost in a mess of dozens of other paper business cards–you just tap your Mobilo card on your new connection’s phone.
Your information is automatically populated into a contact entry on their phone–just like that.
“Whoa–that’s something new,” they’ll say, forming a lasting memory of your interaction. Choose from four different types of Mobilo cards and personalize yours with custom graphics.
Another way to use Mobilo for networking is with your card’s Lead Generation mode. When you set your Mobilo card to Lead Generation and tap it on a new connection’s phone, a form pops up. Once they fill it out and click submit, you receive a text with all of their contact information, and they receive one with yours. You and the new connection just need to click the link in the text to create a new contact entry instantly.
Along with being a more efficient way to network, Mobilo makes you unforgettable, too.
So, you’ve attended the event and made a few new connections. What’s next?
Usually, it’s best to take the initiative and make first contact yourself. If you don’t, the new connection may forget about you.
When you follow up with new connections:
As for timing, don’t follow up mere hours after the event–but don’t wait weeks or months, either.
It’s great to follow new people and get new followers. In fact, your Mobilo smart business card comes with a mode called Social Profile Hub. Tap your card on a new connection’s phone and your social profile links will appear instantly. With Mobilo at your side, gaining new followers at networking events is as easy as 1-2-3.
Still, you shouldn’t overly rely on social media by using it as a replacement for one-on-one interactions. Being active on social media is a necessity in many industries, and social media can itself lead to new connections–both of these things are true. But without doing the work to develop true personal relationships, your networking efforts are nowhere near as effective as they could be.
In other words, liking a few LinkedIn posts probably won’t make you stand out in as significant of a way as you might have hoped.
If you spend a night out on the town, you might meet 10 people you’re friendly with.
Does that mean you’re going to immediately become best friends with each and every likable person you meet?
Networking is the same. Some relationships aren’t meant to be.
But remember that new relationships–both personal and business–might not always get off to a roaring start, even if they have real potential. Maybe one party is busy–or maybe there just isn’t that much of a reason for you two to interact right now.
In the future, that could change. It’s a heck of a lot more efficient to follow up with old connections than it is to form new ones–sort of like it’s easier to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one.
Keeping track of your connections and following up appropriately is essential to maximizing your networking efforts. One simple approach is creating a spreadsheet, tagging connections by industry, and adding notes about what you two have talked about. Then, when you see something interesting that’s worth sharing, you know right away who you could contact to get the discussion started.
Information gathered with your Mobilo card is automatically saved and can be piped straight into your CRM, removing the need for manual labor and making the entire networking process a walk in the park.
When you’re networking, your ultimate goal is to get new clients, customers, and opportunities. However, if you make your move too quickly or too abruptly, you have the chance of ruining the relationship from the start.
It’s sort of like if you went into a car dealership–and instead of getting to know you and trying to find you the best option, the salesman just tried to push for a sale right away.
You wouldn’t want to talk with that salesman for very long.
Even if you’re not overtly selling something to connections, you still need to slowly develop the relationship as quickly as it intuitively makes sense to. Some connections might want to work with you right away. Others may need some warming up before they’re comfortable moving forward.
Both types of connections are worth pursuing. If you’re overly pushy with a tendency to give up fast, you’re like the annoying car salesman. If an overly pushy strategy like that worked, that would be one thing. But more often than not, these types of pushy salespeople are not performing as well as the ones who are taking their time.
Quality over quantity–and nuance over formulaic sales tactics.
Networking requires you to be a little outgoing. Once you have that under your belt, it’s time to optimize your approach to get the best results with your valuable time. Integrate one or all of the above tips into your networking efforts to plug any leaks in your strategy and get significantly better results overall. A simple change like getting a Mobilo smart business card can help you make an unforgettable impression–leading to significantly better results with one small and simple change.