Do You Know How to Network? Top 5 Mistakes Made by Business Owners…
by Anna Marie Imbordino, CEO Chicago Buzz Marketing
June 21, 2016
I guess a better question to start off with it is do you even know what networking is? The dictionary would tell you that networking is the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions for the cultivation of productive relationships. In other words, networking is about meeting people, educating each other about your businesses, and finding ways to help each other reach business goals. Networking is about taking your business and making its goal part of a larger community initiative. So do you know how to network? How many times a week or month do you participate in networking? Many business owners will take the time to find networking groups and attend a meeting or two, but very few take the time to foster the relationships they create. In fact, many business owners go about networking all wrong. Here is my checklist of the Top 5 Networking Mistakes Made by Business Owners…
1. Do NOT avoid conversations with new people! Yes you may already know 80% of the room, and yes they may not be a contact that directly helps your business today, and yes it can be a little scary and nerve wrecking to walk up to new people, but it is vital that you meet every person in the room every time.
2. Do NOT be “me” centered! The biggest mistake you can make in networking is walking around talking only about you and your business and never taking the time to interact with them and their business. Not only will this turn everyone off and make them not want to help you, but you will miss out on possible co-marketing opportunities or lead generating opportunities because you did not learn what they have to offer back.
3. Do NOT treat the room like direct leads! Of course there will be people in the room who could and will become direct leads for your business but that is not the best way to relate to them. Could they help promote you to their clients? Could they have events with you? Could they help fund your future projects? Skies the limit so do not get caught in the “lead” trap.
4. Do NOT forget your marketing materials! I can not tell you how many times I went to events and people had forgotten their business cards or informational pieces. These new contacts need that extra reminder about who you are and what you do. Do not forget your tools.
5. Do NOT forget to follow up with new contacts! Many times you speak with great people and set up great ideas and then….nothing. Make sure you follow up with these people; connect with them on Linkedin, like their facebook pages, email them a reminder about what you discussed, send them a thank you card, or set up a meeting at your office to speak with them further. Do something!