Congratulations! You have made it to the end of our 7-week business detox (#businessdetox). By now you are filled with a wealth of knowledge regarding how to make your business more efficient! Like a regular detox, this is something you may need to revisit every now and then. In fact, we suggest you refresh your business body with a business detox every year!
Last week we discussed the 3 Cs → Communication, Clients, and Customer Service. The last two Cs segue into this week’s article. Networking! Networking for a business is like drinking water for the body. Water helps keep us alive much like networking helps keep businesses… well, in business!
Bonus Tip: Learn how to shake hands!
Growth is essential to a healthy business. Every client you serve is another drop of water for your business. A beneficial part of networking is that you can create connections with people who aren’t even your clients. You may question how this is beneficial… Well, unfortunately, not everyone you meet is going to need your product or service; HOWEVER, this does not mean they can’t become part of your network!
It is inevitable to discuss business networking without mentioning the usefulness of LinkedIn. It has become so easy due to technology and social media to connect with people from all over the world. This can be helpful; however, your best contacts are the people whom you have had face-to-face interaction with. Even then, sometimes people may not remember your name (but odds are they WILL remember your face). So now I share a trick with you I learned while in college… in your email, feel free to add a small, professional picture of yourself under your signature. This is like a virtual business card within your email. If you feel this may be too much for daily interactions… add your picture when you send out your annual holiday emails. Oh, you aren’t sending annual holiday emails? Well, that is yet another way to increase your interactions with your contacts!
Here are the 15 tips on how to improve your networking skills!
- Network with EVERYONE (you never know what people may have to offer and you never know how you can help them in return).
- Do your favors first! Don’t wait for others to help you, help them first and watch how the world turns in your favor.
- Networking is a delicate balance of being aggressive (because if you wait for the other person to keep in touch with you, you may never get anywhere), but not overwhelming. Don’t annoy your contact; don’t give them the room to become tired of you. Keep in contact at least a few times a year.
- Catch up, buy people a cup of coffee and chat with them. Doing this every so often helps you secure a professional relationship with people. When you need something that you know they can help you with, you won’t feel awkward asking.
- Get On LinkedIn & keep it updated and professional!
- Add your picture to your email signature. This helps people associate your name, face, and location they met you.
- Send out regular emails (quarterly or annually) so people don’t forget that they have your contact information. The holidays are a great time to do this!
- Attend networking events like workshops, meetings, and mixers to expand your circle of contacts.
- ALWAYS HAVE BUSINESS CARDS WITH YOU! Don’t ever catch yourself in a situation without a business card (don’t allow yourself to run out, keep a small stack with you and a large secondary stack somewhere nearby within a few steps…not in your car).
- Ask for their business card; write notes on the back so that you can complete the next step…
- Keep a list of your contacts somewhere that can be accessed at any moment. Update it regularly and include a good amount of information including: name and last name, position/title, company, where and on what date you met, email, phone number, and include any specific notes regarding what you discussed that may be important, what they specialize in, or maybe what business they have outside of their job (these can be helpful to remember later on).
- Send a follow-up email just as you would after an interview. This saves your information in the person’s electronic devices and emails. Moreover, it improves the odds of them remembering you the next time you talk or see each other.
- When meeting people, think of ways in which YOU can be of help to THEM. You build a stronger network by giving before getting. People will remember you for what you have done for them, and in return will want to help you just as you helped them.
- Help your network network. No that wasn’t a typo; help your contacts expand their network by introducing your contacts to one another, if you find a way in which they can be helpful to one another. They will both remember you for this as well.
- When someone helps you, handwritten thank you’s are always more appreciated (and more memorable) than an email or a text message. Invest in a set of thank you cards at the beginning of each year; this acts as a reminder for you to write cards as certain events take place throughout the year.
One extra tip; learn how to shake hands. I know that may sound funny, but people have always complimented me on my handshake and it was something I learned when I was a kid in middle school. My teacher taught us early in the year how to shake hands with people… Look them in the eye, smile, and firmly and confidently, shake their hand.
We hope these tips and this Business Detox overall has been helpful for you! We enjoyed this social media campaign and hope our tips, suggestions and information keep you motivated and inspired to reach the greatest goals you have set for yourself and your business! Please let us know what you thought of our Business Detox by using #BusinessDetox.