It’s fair to say that networking doesn’t come easily to everyone. While the extroverts among us might jump at every chance to meet new people, more introverted personalities usually recoil at the prospect of initiating conversations with people they don’t know.
Meanwhile, others are just too busy to find the time for small talk. But, whatever your gremlins (if you have them), networking is beneficial for everyone and their businesses.
By networking with the right people, you could connect with more potential clients, gain greater knowledge and understanding of industry trends and take advantage of the type of mentoring and support that comes with sharing mistakes, successes and advice.
And, if that’s not compelling enough, statistics show that 40 per cent of prospective customers convert to new customers following an in-person meeting compared to only 16 per cent without.
There are also a few intangible benefits of networking too, such as increasing your overall confidence, generating referrals and raising your business’ profile.
So, the question is, how do you network effectively? Here are my six tips to help you kick your fears and grow your professional network.
1. Attend events & offline groups
With 2022 returning to a sense of normality for events, now is the time to attend the conferences, trade shows and other events targeted to your industry. However, don’t forget about the networking opportunities available online.
For example, specific LinkedIn groups could help you connect with potential clients and other influential business owners while Twitter is a great platform for participating in topical conversations relevant to your expertise.
Similarly, contributing to discussions and answering questions posted on online forums could also help to raise your business’ profile as a trusted player in the field.
2. Approach people (or groups) with purpose
First impressions really count and while a firm handshake makes for a good start, you could build rapport with your new connection by explaining who you are, why you are there and what you hope to learn.
Similarly, when joining online groups or forums, don’t just be another number – introduce yourself and make your existence known. Engage and comment your expert opinion in discussions.
3. Be memorable
Having a passive greeting is one way to deter anyone from remembering you and is a poor skill to use when effectively networking.
Before engaging in any networking event or opportunity, be prepared with something impactful to say about yourself, your business or your industry.
For example, this could be to do with your career experiences or some exciting news about things your business has in the pipeline.
Once you’ve made yourself known to new connections, ensure you stay on their radar by suggesting that you keep in touch via email, social media or future in-person meetings.
After all, if you stay on the forefront of someone’s mind, they’ll be more likely to refer your services to their own contacts when the opportunity presents.
4. Give something in return
Initially, you should always engage in networking opportunities with the intention of growing your connections, gaining new information or advice and hopefully landing few new clients along the way.
But networking is a two-way street, which means you should be ready and willing to offer help and advice to others whenever the opportunity arises.
Showing preparedness to offer something up in any networking scenario is fundamental to forming mutually respectful and meaningful new connections which could result in future favours and longer-term support.
5. Listen and ask questions
Active engagement is crucial to leaving an impression, but it is just as important to make sure you don’t dominate conversations by talking about yourself and focussing on everything you want to learn – this isn’t likely to leave a lasting positive impression.
So, be conscious of those around you by giving people the time they deserve to talk themselves. Asking questions is also a great way to show you’re interested as well as expanding the discussion for the benefit of everyone.
6. Follow up
To ensure you’re not quickly forgotten, make time afterwards to follow up with your new contacts – whether via email, social media or a phone call – to let them know they should reach out to you in future, should they need anything.
This is another opportunity to reiterate the services you offer and explain how you can help them reach any personal or business goals of their own.
Referring to aspects of your in-person conversation is also an effective way to remind them who you are and becoming more memorable.
Especially when following up months later, simple association to the event and an anecdote you shared will spark the memory and make you inevitably more trustworthy.
Whether you’re an enthusiastic networker or one of the many who dread the thought, knowledge is usually key to overcoming inhibitions and getting the most out of your opportunities – wherever you find them.
By following these networking tips, you’ll stand a better chance of leaving a positive and lasting impression of yourself and your business.
For more insights into how you can efficiently network in the conveyancing and property industry and improve your overall reputation for efficient workflows, book a demonstration to see our all-in-one conveyancing solution, triConvey, with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.