If you want to be recognised within your industry, then networking is a very successful way for doing so. However, it takes commitment and rarely does something happen overnight. It is a slow but, ultimately, successful process.
You need to build your network by demonstrating your credibility and reliability. When people like and trust you that is when they will get in touch or recommend you.
There are many ways to network, such as attending various networking events, attending training courses and, of course, using LinkedIn.
Introduce yourself and ensure you find out about the person. Actively listen, ask questions and genuinely show an interest. Good business relationships are built on people buying people.
After you have met follow this up by email or a LinkedIn message as very few people follow up and if you don’t you are likely to be forgotten.
It is always worth trying to meet up on a one-to-one basis so you can get to know the person better and understand their business.
Keep your network in mind in your day-to-day activities and if an opportunity presents itself then make sure you make them aware of it as they are more than likely to return the favour in the future.
Remember the people you meet at events or on LinkedIn are very rarely going to be the people who will directly assist you or do business with you, but it is who they are connected to that is important so do not dismiss anyone.
Do not go straight into a sales pitch. You would not like if someone did this to you so don’t do the same thing. This counts for email too.
Do not just try to focus on handing out as many business cards or flyers as possible. You will not be remembered for this nor will people recommend you as they do not know you.
Do not focus on the quantity of people you meet or connect with. Quality is always more important.
Networking can be really good fun. So, be genuine, forget the hard sell, be yourself, help others and the opportunities will arrive!