First impressions last. This is none more so important than in business, where public perception shapes how your products can be branded and repurposed as business networking focuses so much on fostering a sense of community and interacting within and outside of your chosen industry, so of course, it would be vital to appeal desirable from the get go.
If you’re looking to enhance your public profile – or at least, improve your networking skills – then one can benefit from knowing where you lack in terms of business networking – and how you can avoid making cringe-worthy mistakes.
What’s Wrong with Being Confident?
People are often afraid to speak up and make opinions heard due to the perception that this sounds arrogant. Rather, having an opinion and acting on it makes one appear more confident and approachable. Without initiating contact, networking would be a very difficult endeavour. Waiting about isn’t going to do anything, and often, those who make the first move are remembered much more fondly.
Appearing confident during networking and social events makes a strong impression on other business owners, as you serve as the face for your product. Whether it is a need to come up with better ideas or organising an event or expo, confidence in words and manner are essential tools to network. A nervous, stuttering face would do not good as one promotes a certain product, and the same standard should be set for those who are into networking events.
Learn how to sell yourself – not illegally of course
This should come naturally to businessmen, as sales and marketing are an integral part of one’s daily living. If this falters in social situations, or in crowds, then it would perhaps be best to think of networking events as opportunities to sell one’s product.
Participation in events such as this need not be such a chore – indeed, it can even be seen as a way to conquer one’s fears. Engaging others in friendly debate or asking the right questions can really help people engage more in one’s persona, making connections easier and hassle-free.
Use social media to your advantage. Link your accounts to your website, or else, create blogs and generate content that people can comment, react, and replicate. There are so many avenues to get one’s name out into the world. Having an online presence is a powerful way to reach out to target markets and update one’s self on industry news.
Be The Best at your Business
If you are an entrepreneur, all the better; having first-hand knowledge and experience trumps those who are business owners in name alone. It will come through in events, trade fairs, or even daily transactions. Bespoke tailors, butchers, and florists are but a few professions that benefit from first-hand experience. Sadly, the demand for more personalised business transactions has dwindled in recent years, so support local communities by their products.
In turn, this sense of community will help promote your own business in due time. Perhaps you own a restaurant, so friendly relations with the butcher will yield you the best cuts of meat for your dishes. Boutique owners can feature handiwork done by local tailors. The opportunities are there if you can only try.
This also comes in handy because it offers good sales practice. Knowing whether to go for the hard or soft sell is key; nothing is worse than feeling obligated to buy something one isn’t keen on. Building relationships with clients is the focus here.
How To Make Your Mark
Networking is a contact sport. You have to go out into the world and see it out for yourself. As such, establishing personal relationships cannot just be relegated to those with menial tasks. It is an ongoing process as one works their way up the ladder in profits.
If, for example, product quality is sacrificed through acquiring cheaper labour, it might not be worth it. Industry veterans will tell you that the product, the content, is what matters to customers most. Ethical business practices and sound relationships with your clients or customers will spread through word of mouth, leaving you with key tools that one needs in order to succeed in business. Humour, wit, and warmth are good conversation starters, but one has to be keenly invested in both the business and the people in it.
The Power of Referrals
Nothing is ever wasted in interaction. The devil is in the details, after all. Even if one is unable to make a sale, networking opportunities are abound if you engage a specific person or group. Always ask for referrals, as reaching a wider network will always be an advantage to one’s business.
People are both storytellers. Being engaged and sharing tips and tools of the trade can gain you respect and authority within your industry. There is a social responsibility in taking care of each other, and in storytelling, we connect with others. Take the time to listen others – everyone has had a unique experience that can add depth to one’s knowledge of their business. Give and take.
Following up with other people’s contacts and referrals adds a degree of warmth to one’s networking skills. Look them in the eye and give a firm handshake, or else bring up a detail that it takes keenly listening to others to notice. Perhaps they are supporters of Arsenal or Leicester City, or else running for MP. Whatever it may be, one will always benefit when touching upon a personal connection.
With these skills, one can network effectively and make themselves invaluable to their industry. Business networking in London and the UK takes time and effort to learn, but one can enjoy the experience and reap the rewards in due course.
Networking is, after all, an everyday experience. Whilst events come in handy, it can happen from anywhere to over-the-top affairs to thrift markets. One only needs to seek them out and build the skills necessary to do so.
Do’s And Don’ts Of Business Networking, BL.UK
Stop Treating Networking Like A Round Of Speed Dating,Fortune.Com
Here are some related articles which you may find useful:
• Joining Networking Events in London? 3 Tips to Build Strong Relations
• Watch Out For 3 Things To Optimising Your Business Networking
• Acing Business Networking Events in London: Expert Tips for Newbies