Networking is one of the best ways to expand your branding, make new contacts and create leads that have a great chance of turning into sales. In addition, this is an opportunity to build a real business network and become the recipient of the ripple effect. By making contacts, and building lasting relationships, you and your company will have extended its reach beyond what you would normally likely expect. The holiday season is a prime opportunity to network as the atmosphere tends to be festive and people more open. So, what do you need to do to build some long term networks this holiday season?
- Dress for success and know your opening lines. Regardless of the setting, always look your best. Check the mirror to see how you look as you might approach someone from ten feet away and how you might appear from only a foot or so away. Your visual impact will carry much more weight than you might think. Also, know what you are going to say about you and your company in the first thirty seconds after a formal meet. For the extroverts, that will not be a problem as they are always ready and feed off the the gathered social energy. For you introverts, however, you must be prepared like an actor playing a part because these social gatherings tend to drain your energy.
- Turn your brand awareness and marketing campaigns into a live presentation. Listen for their pain and know how you can ease that pain, solve a problem or bring some added value into their lives. Bring as much positive energy to the exchange as you can. Make someone glad they met you. Make an impression that will last long after the event. Learn to actually listen. Most people aren’t really listening; they are merely waiting for another chance to talk. Don’t be one of them.
- Remember that you are really a walking commercial for yourself and your business. Take an interest in everyone, not just those who might be able to advance your bottom line. Make a concerted effort to meet and get to know everyone at the event. Making that great first impression will go a long way toward establishing yourself as a member of many business communities and networks. If you stay open to the energy around you, you just never know what may open up for you.
-Written by Kevin Sawyer