Sales trainer Tom Hopkins, in Sales Prospecting for Dummies claims that the closing ratio for referred leads is 60% compared to 10% for non-qualified leads. This might vary a bit, but it is a fact that referrals are an important source of business. These referrals come from people in our network.
No matter how busy you are, networking is essential in business.
I’ve just published my first Kindle book, The Busy Person’s Guide to Networking: Maximum Benefit for Minimum Effort. To celebrate I want to share three of my tips with you.
Tip 1 – Know who you know, and who you want to meet.
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But people often attend a networking event in the hope that they will make the right contacts without really identifying who the ‘right contacts’ are.
Is there a specific person, or type of person that you need to meet? Maybe you’re looking for an expert in a particular topic? One of the simplest ways to work out who you need to know is to look at who you already know and how they can help you, and then look at where you want to be. The people you want to meet are the ones who can fill the ‘gaps’. Think about:
- Who amongst your current contacts can give you the information that you need or can help you reach your goal?
- Who do you know that has contacts with a wider circle of people who can help you out, that could introduce you?
- Who do you know who can help you work out who else it would be useful for you to meet – both the types of people and specific people?
Tip 2 – Set a time limit
Once you get to the event you might find that you’re having a great time, catching up with friends, enjoying a drink. In fact, the event might seem more like a party than a business event.
The thing is if you prepare well you have a purpose for attending. Your purpose is to make meaningful connections with the people you decided you need to meet. It’s important to stay on track and remember why you’re there. So before you go to the event make some decisions.
- How much time do you want to spend at the event?
- How much time will you spend with each person?
- How much time overall?
Focus on making connections, and save the socialising for later.
Tip 3 – Use Your Business Card Effectively
This may seem obvious but people often get it wrong!
Make sure your business card is up-to-date. Avoid handing over your business card as soon as you are introduced. If you hand it over straight away it can give the impression that you are just selling, not making serious connections. Once you’ve made contact, ask the other person for their card. Most likely they will mirror your behaviour and ask you for yours.
Find these tips useful? Please share them with your network … and post a comment if you have any great networking tips.