By Bryony Landricombe
🤝 41% of business professionals believe that networking at business events is the most effective way of finding new clients.
👥 95% of business professionals saying face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships.
🤝 In-person meetings have a close rate of 40% on average
At this point most people will ask themselves, “so how do I become GREAT at Networking?” and “how do I nail my 30 second pitch to get myself noticed?”.
Well, straight away you have put the focus on yourself and not the other people in the room.
It’s the same as asking ‘what should I post for the most engagement on social media?’. Your focus is on getting everyone to look at YOU.
As Stefan Thomas says, in his youtube video that I have linked below, if everyone is working SO hard to get people to look at them…who is actually doing the looking?
The most efficient way of determining who is there to network and who is there for themselves is to, you’ve guessed it, build relationships.
You MEET new people -> you connect and begin to LIKE them (hopefully) -> you spend time getting to KNOW them -> overtime you learn to TRUST them.
There is no time limit on how long it takes to build trust, it’s about the effort invested. Again, in the words of Stefan Thomas, “effort is currency”. There is no ‘finishing line’ when it comes to getting to know someone. It’s an on-going process. You wouldn’t make new friends with an ‘end goal’ in sight, you simply make friends to continue that relationship on. It’s much of the same, with the exception being you’re also business owners looking to support each other’s growth. It’s a win-win. At the end of the day, who remembers Susan from 2014 who once tried to sell you her services as a will writer and barely spoke to you again? No-one.
So, perhaps instead of asking yourself ‘how do I become great at networking’, you should try asking ‘how should I approach other people?’. Stop worrying over having a perfect pitch and divert your focus to the other people in the room instead. Ask questions, learn about their business, find out how you can help them.
Invest your time in having 1-2-1’s and actively help as many people as you can. Give value before seeking value. Be the person everyone comes too, this is how to get people’s attention.
We can’t forget to mention the community outside of the room too. Taking the time to send a simple introduction can create a ripple effect across extended networks, leading to incredible opportunities for business growth. It takes a few moments to introduce your connections via email, or social media for example. These tools are there to benefit you – so use them! People will be so grateful and appreciative that you have taken the time to give a personal introduction.
Social media can also be a great tool for connecting with new people too. Yet AGAIN referring back to Stefan Thomas (you REALLY must watch his talk), “every post that someone puts out there is a mini networking event, and YOU’RE invited to it!”. I repeat “every post that someone puts out there is a MINI NETWORKING EVENT…AND YOU’RE INVITED TO IT!”
So next time you’re scrolling take the time to actually READ the other posts, comment on them, and ENGAGE. But with a real comment, one with meaning. Not just a ‘thanks for sharing’ or ‘this is great. People will get notified that you have commented, so not only does it boost the original post but it is a brilliant way for you to start new conversations with new people. Seek those new relationships, don’t wait for them to come to you.
However, I think if we have learnt anything from the Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp outage recently, it’s that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. If we were to lose all of our digital connections tomorrow, we need to ensure that we have real-life connections too.
Of course, I could now move on to talking about the support and learnings you can gain from being part of The Ribbons Network, but essentially – these are additional benefits to being part of an incredible (even if I do say so myself) network. These will not help you to network successfully. The support you receive from The Ribbons Network, The Ribbons Clinic and our new (work in progress) Members log-in area will help you to grow your business, improve your processes and support your peers. But ultimately, it is down to YOU to showcase your skills and network effectively.
Some things for you to consider before your next networking event;
- What makes you different from everyone else in your sector? What is your unique selling point?
- Is the networking you’re doing now giving you the results you want?
- If not, what can you do to adapt your strategy to make it work for you?
Take a minute and write your intentions down to remind yourself of the networking goals you have set for yourself today. It’s time for you to begin Networking for Success!