Networking Tips for a 30+ Year Pro, by Ralph Tarnofsky
I have over 30 years of business networking experience in the N.Y. metro market. My business survives on word of mouth and referrals, so networking with other
well-established business owners is essential to the success of my business. There are several networking points to consider if you want to maximize the results of your networking experience.
Be prepared: you must be prepared for each networking meeting you attend. Know as many details about the event as possible. Included in your research should be questions about parking, location, dress code, business card exchange, elevator speeches and length of meeting. Fine out if promotional materials are required, optional, or prohibited. Are sponsorships available for the event? That’s important to know.
Take notes and have a plan of how you will follow up on action items that are an outcome of the meeting.
Introducing yourself: when you introduce yourself to a new fellow networker, be sure to use whatever technique you have adopted to remember names. This is important because you gain instant credibility if you are able to remember new people by their full name.
Always encourage the person you have just met to speak about themselves first. Make the conversation about them. Once they have finished describing their business and sharing other vital information, ask them how you can help them with business referrals. Now it is your turn to talk about yourself.
Remember, networking is a bit like selling. Listening is what you do first, talking is what you do last.
Finally, follow up is of upmost importance. If you suggest a follow up meeting take place, then take steps to make it happen. If you ask for a new connection’s business card, and then you just leave it in the stack of other cards you collected that day, don’t expect any positive results to come from that meeting. Instead, follow up the same or next day with an email that suggests a few dates you are available to meet. The goal is to deepen the connection with this new relationship.
Getting to know each other over coffee or lunch, without the distractions of the networking event is key. If you say that you have a lead or a referral for your new contact, then you need to follow that up and make the introduction and referral as you described in your meeting.
Following these few but important business networking tips will lead to successful and rewarding results.
By Ralph Tarnofsky
Professional Audio Consultants