Best tips for successful business networking
When people think about networking, they imagine themselves walking around a big event, trying their best to be extroverted. You probably have an image firmly planted in your mind of what network marketing (also known as direct sales or multilevel marketing) is all about–housewives buying and selling Tupperware while gossiping and eating finger sandwiches, or a high-pressure salesperson trying to convince you how easily you can become a millionaire if only you and your friends and their friends and so on would buy and sell vitamins with him.
That’s not real networking. these images couldn’t be further from the reality of network marketing. It’s neither a hobby nor a get-rich-scheme but an opportunity for you to earn money running your own part- or full-time business.
The best networking is a result of genuine curiosity, and usually in environments most people would never use for networking. For example: if you are very physically active and spend a lot of time at the gym down the street from where you live between the same hours almost every day, you could see the same faces over and over again. Instead of always keeping headphones on, you can make an effort to get to know people–I mean you see each other there every day, walk past each other on the way to different machines, etc. Might as well know each other’s names, right?
Because the truth is, people don’t like “being networked.” Nobody likes the idea of shaking hands with someone and there being this underlying expectation of, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” It just feels contrived.
Networking is an art, not a science, and it’s hard to measure—or even define—its effectiveness. So we often have a love-hate relationship with it. Thankfully, there are ways to network effectively. According to experts here are the most successful hacks for business networking:
- Make friends, not contacts.
Let’s say you need an in at a big company and you know someone there. If that person is nothing more than a business card you picked up at a networking event, what are the chances he or she will actually end up being able to provide you the value you’re looking for? Probably very slim. Maybe–you never know. But not super likely.
But if your contact is a friend, someone you speak with on a somewhat regular basis, someone with whom you’ve grabbed coffee and connected over a shared love for sci-fi movies, etc., the person will feel so much more compelled to help you.
Reason being: You’re friends.
2.Choose wisely. There are six key elements you should be looking for when selecting an opportunity. Number one: stability. How old is the company? Number two is excellent products or services that consumers will use and need more of.
Number three is the pay plan–how even and fair and generous overall is the distribution? This is really crucial as the pay plan represents exactly how you’ll get paid–or not get paid. There are really only two questions to ask [regarding this]: How many pennies out of each sales dollar get paid back to the distributors each month, and how fair is the distribution of these pennies between the old members and the new members?
Number four is the integrity of the company and the management. As much as possible, investigate the experience of the CEO, their experience in the network marketing industry, and their background. Have they been successful in other companies in the industry? Do they have a good reputation?
Number five is momentum and timing. Look at where the company’s at, what’s going on with the company, and if it’s growing.
Number six is support, training and business systems. You may have chosen a great company with excellent management, products that make a difference, a pay plan that’s uniquely fair and very generous, and momentum and stability, but if you don’t have a system in place that works, all of that doesn’t matter. Most companies will have a transferable training system that they use, and that’s where mentorship comes in.
- Listen–because not many people do it.
Want to know one of the best networking hacks in the world?
To succeed, you need to be willing to listen and learn from mentors. The way this industry is structured, it’s in the best interests of the [MLM veterans in your company] to help you succeed, so they’re willing to teach you the system. Whatever [your mentor] did to become successful, it’s very duplicatible, but you have to be willing to listen and be taught and follow those systems..
It is astounding how much people will divulge when you show them you are genuinely interested in and listening to what they’re saying. People are so used to being met with the feeling of “I’m waiting for you to finish speaking so I can talk again” that when someone comes along who listens intently to every word they say, they just keep going and going and going–and, going back to No. 1, they see you as a friend. They trust you, and feel safe sharing with you who they are.
People with knowledge tend to hold back what they know under the presumption that you aren’t really interested in what they have to say. But if you listen, genuinely listen, and show not only your interest but your appreciation, they will share. They will share everything they know, and then some. So not only is this a learning opportunity for you, but it becomes one of the fastest ways to make friends and build an incredible network.
They will respect you because you have the patience and maturity to actually listen.
4.Use social media
People are utilizing the internet as their main marketing tool. You can set up your sitewith autoresponders so when you capture leads, the autoresponder can follow up with that person. . Remember to look people up on social networks before meeting them (LinkedIn + Twitter + their company website at a minimum) and to send a brief follow up note afterward
One of the greatest keys to success in this industry is follow-up. Many people will have someone call them who’s interested or they’ll call the person and say they’re interested, but then they don’t follow up with it. Automation on the internet has allowed a much more consistent method of following up. We can contribute actively to our business community with social networking activities like sharing relevant business articles every day, organizing a monthly networking event or arranging for a speaker to come to our workplace, and initiating a weekly 1:1 networking lunch.
- Keep your word
Your word is everything. Nobody makes referrals to someone who is “kind of reliable.” Nobody makes introductions to someone who is “sometimes there.”
You’re either there or you’re not.
Especially in business (and you’d be surprised how small big cities can be … ), your word and reputation is arguably your greatest asset. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you promise to follow up, follow up. If you close a deal, make sure that deal is upheld to the highest standard.
If you are not able to do this, then all your other networking efforts amount to very little. For every lead in, two leads fall out.