The best sales professionals and marketers know their long-term success depends not just on their sales ability, but on their ability to network and expand their network circle. Sales requires making connections and establishing relationships. The more people you meet and get to know, the more opportunities you will create.
Eric Porat, an entrepreneur and digital marketer, had some quick pointers on how to upgrade your networking prowess. I added a few with a local flair.
- Network across multiple platforms. Remember that not everyone uses the same social media platforms and not everyone likes to communicate in the same way. To network effectively, become an expert at many forms of communications, from collaborating on Zoom to sending emails and texts to chatting on Instagram. Find out which platforms your potential clients prefer.
- Listen actively. Another way to improve your networking skills is to learn to listen actively. This means not just thinking of what you want to say next but responding to other people in a way that shows you understand what they are saying. This shows that you are thoughtful, empathetic and invested in others, which is crucial to successful networking, says Porat. You will then be able to offer products and solutions to them that best fit their need and situation.
- Exude optimism. When you are upbeat and friendly, you help make yourself more likeable and memorable. This, in turn, makes others more confident in your business endeavors. One way you can boost your optimism is by learning how to respond to negative circumstances with an upbeat outlook. You can always control your response to a setback. I Choose To Be HAPPY today!
- Use humor. You don’t have to be the funniest person in the office to use humor to your advantage. Anyone can work on developing their sense of humor in order to improve their networking. Porat says having a good sense of humor goes hand in hand with showing optimism. Humor makes you more human and helps you unite with others on a common ground. Just be sure to keep your humor clean and relatable.
- Attend networking events. To improve your networking skills, attend networking events, including virtual ones. Don’t just attend, get engaged in the conversation. Use “Chat” if available to set up one on one connections. Don’t’ say “I don’t Zoom.” Online trade shows, conferences and workshops allow you to practice your skills in a non-stress setting. Keep your focus on building genuine connections and relationships will organically grow.
- Virtual Networking is still professional. Be dressed for business, make sure your background looks professional and suits your business. Eliminate distractions as much as possible. Always have products or other visuals at the ready!
- Interview people. If you contribute to your company blog or you are conducting industry research, you can make new connections through interviews. Almost everyone is open to an interview if you pitch it well, says Porat. By interviewing someone, you get a chance to get to know them better and demonstrate your optimism and humor. If you do it well, your subjects will remember you. They will appreciate the plug for their business.
Networking is a vital skill in sales. You can practice and refine your networking skills in several ways, from incorporating humor into your conversations to attending virtual networking events and asking to interview interesting people. Just like with anything else, the more you practice networking, the better you will get at it. Use the tips above to polish your new networking skills in the year ahead.
Contact me if you want a list of specific networking events or groups that are currently happen in the greater Des Moines area. Some are starting a “hybrid” format of virtual and in person, while many will remain virtual for months into 2021. Just like the in person events, you can try them out to see what fits your style and your business the best!
A special note: As we begin a new year filled with hope for a healthier and happier world, I wanted to share with you that this is the last newsletter you will be receiving from the Business Warrior group. While we will continue with our respective businesses, we hope that you stay tuned, as you will be hearing from us via individual platforms.
Please know my Business Warrior colleagues and I are here to help you and your business continue to survive and thrive in the new year. We encourage you to reach out to us with questions and concerns, as we are here to assist you in any way we can. On behalf of the Business Warriors, I wish you continued success and the very best as 2021 moves forward. Please stay well and stay tuned.
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