The 'Yes' and 'No' when developing networking
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
When we are entrepreneurs or when we already have our own business, networking is often trivialized without assessing that it is a fundamental tool to exploit the development and scope of our work. This network of professional contacts is based on strategic ties that can help our growth in times of stability but also in times of crisis. But remember: networking is not a stick nor should it be the foundation of your success; It is a stepping stone that will help you reach higher.
Here are some tips for you to establish your networking and develop it successfully. And the first is to know that we all have a network of contacts , which is being built throughout our family history, school, university, jobs, extra-work activities, etc. The key is to know who knows you and thinks of you. Therein lies one of the basic elements of networking: empty contacts do not work but those with which we establish deeper ties, where there is trust.
In addition, we must always keep in mind that networking requires proactivity and to be build it before we need it because its foundation is to help. When we need help and have not built a prior bond, the other person may not be willing to help us. In this framework, it is important to have and show real interest in the work of the other. Also put yourself at the service of the other.
- To know more: Never say 'How are you?': How to start a conversation (even if you are bad at talking)
On the other hand, we must know that personal branding is one of the foundations of online networking and is what the person you contact will look for first. That is why it is important to spend time building a solid personal brand that transmits who you are, what you do, and why you do what you do. The personal brand has to reflect your value.
In line with this we have to recognize the value of the service we provide . Having this clear will allow you to have enough confidence to establish a first contact, make a productive meeting for both of you, and above all, build a solid bond. If you want to know what your value is, ask customers or people who have experienced your product or service, what do they value the most about it and what they think is the differential. Likewise, it is important to bear in mind that the people with whom we share the market, the competition, are strategic allies. Although we share the same goal, we are not the same.
From this we can forge a clear vision of where the venture is going. If you really want to capitalize on your contacts and generate solid links to boost your business, you need to first be very clear about what you want and where you are going. In this way you can establish strategic alliances that gradually bring you closer to the construction you have for your business.
What you definitely shouldn't do is insist because nobody likes heavy ones; we want to be valuable. If you get a NO, smile and keep moving forward on other contacts. If there is no response, it is better to choose to persevere in making contact, but not insist. To persevere is to make a new contact from another perspective.
Another tip that I advise against is the "copy paste" in contact messages. It shows and transmits a lack of commitment and a lack of entrepreneurial spirit. As an example, in the initial message on Instagram it is important to put the name of the founder. The connection with the other changes a lot to start in this way “Hello Dani, I'm Paula, the founder of Pepita Carteras…” than to start “Hello, we write to you…” That the message is personalized implies that it is from one person to another person. I also recommend using the first person singular or plural if you represent a work team, and introduce yourself at the beginning if you write from the brand of your venture.
If the contact is by WhatsApp, do not say everything in a single message. Introduce yourself but the first contact should leave the other wanting to know more, do not reveal all your information about one because the other loses interest. If you don't know the person, send a text. If you know the person and want to send him an audio, remember that it is not longer than 30 seconds.
If the contact is by WhatsApp, do not say everything in a single message / Image: Depositphotos.com
When requesting a meeting, it is advisable to highlight in the message the time of duration and the modality or place. In the latter case, you can ask the person where they live beforehand and thus be able to propose a meeting point that does not suit them. Remember: every meeting is a victory . Don't be left alone with the result because networking is a long-term game. Today's meeting is just the beginning of something that can be productive in the future.
And here comes an important tip: the attitude of protagonists that we need to lead successfully must be relegated when talking with another person to take a more collaborative role. Without forgetting what you want or what you need to grow, you have to be aware of choosing the correct words to make the other person the protagonist.
This ties into the following recommendation: be nice to everyone, never underestimate someone you know. For networking you must put all your prejudices aside and be open to talking to everyone equally.
Finally, another of the interesting keys to networking is to start a relationship by being a customer first: it is the simplest way to generate an initial link because when one is a customer it already shows that you have confidence in the other's product and service.