Our Experts | Matt Pustolski
There are many ways to build your business, and in this day and age using technology to your advantage is one of them. But with all the advancements we have made, it’s important to remember one important tool – word of mouth.
Here are four things to keep in mind when expanding and building your network.
1. Quality not quantity
Concentrate your efforts on gathering quality connections, not necessarily a high quantity. Good networking isn’t all about how many business cards you have in your pocket at the end of the event. The best connections you can make are with the people you have memorable and meaningful conversation with. It’s worth taking the time to do so, as it makes following up later much easier and sets the stage for a more sustainable connection.
2.Turn the tables
When you meet someone at a networking event, most people will expect you to ask them for help. Next time, try turning the tables and offer your support. How can you make what they do simpler and easier? Show them your value. By giving before receiving you will surprise people and they will be more likely to return the favor.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or share contacts
Exchanging connections with others can be a great way to build your network. Ask if they’ll refer you to a business contact that you’d like to meet. The worst they can say is no. In return, you can introduce them to someone that could help them, too.Sometimes we forget that most people like to help people, especially when there is no negative cost to them. The best and most successful way to ask for a referral or an introduction is to do it in person. People are more likely to do something for you when you are standing face-to-face. Is it acceptable to ask for a referral over the phone or internet if doing so in person is out of the question? Yes, it is, but try for in person if you can.
4. Remember to reconnect
Making connections is surely important, but keeping the conversation going and building a professional relationship with that connection is even more valuable. Remember to stay in touch! You must make an effort to remain top of mind or you may be forgotten. Sending emails to touch base can be helpful, as well as connecting on LinkedIn and beginning a dialogue there. Use social media to enhance your in-person networking by inviting someone to coffee after connecting, or sharing relevant articles with them covering topics you’ve spoken about.
Keeping these points in mind when attending networking events, conferences, lunch meetings and more, will help your contact base grow and thrive. You can start by connecting with me on LinkedIn. You can also call or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, (216) 503-8520 x 2550.