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How to make networking work

People in business know they should go to networking events. But many people either don’t know how to network effectively at these events or have a fear of networking, period. Here are some areas to consider when you go to a networking event.

The Five Greatest Networking Sins:

  • Spend time talking to friends about how tough it is to network
  • No clear objective for the evening…e.g. two solid contacts
  • No mutual agreement about next steps with the people you meet
  • Greater focus on telling rather than asking
  • No follow-up plan

Who is My Prospect?

  • A concise description of your company
  • Typical types of clients
  • Problems solved from working with you

Networking Intention:

  • What do you want to accomplish at this networking event?
  • Listen for opportunities to help
  • Qualify by asking questions to determine if prospect has problems/needs that you can solve
  • If yes, discuss next steps to talk more or meet
  • If no, is there another way you can help?

Typical Networking Goals:

  • Minimum of two contacts who will take your call within the next 3 days
  • Ask questions to learn if you or your business can help the other person
  • Emerson’s Law: “Give more to get more!”  If you can’t help, do you know someone who can? 
  • Look for opportunities to make introductions.
  • Position yourself as an expert in your field and you’ll be the logical choice for business if needed

Finally remember this last rule: “You cannot fail at networking unless you fail to network!"

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Gary Harvey

Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or gary.harvey@sandler.com.


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