It’s not who you know, but who knows you. Modern business is about relationships, not cold calls. Whether you work in marketing, advertising, branding, or any other field, there’s thousands of people doing what you do so how can you stand out from the crowd? By following the tips below, you can increase your business while having fun in the process.
You’re not the only professional in your field
All businesses have strengths and weaknesses and clients all have different preferences in what they look for from companies. Unless you’re doing a highly specialized line of work, you’re bound to run into plenty of competitors at business functions. Rather than simply ignoring them, reach out and schedule a coffee meeting. Everyone has different specialties. You might work in technology while the other person specializes in fashion. By sending clients and connections to each other, you not only gain additional business, but prospective clients will appreciate your honesty when approaching their projects.
Pay it forward
The most important takeaway from these networking lessons is that they all revolve around mutually beneficial relationships. By allowing people to bounce ideas off you, mentoring, volunteering, or simply making connections – you’ll not only establish credibility in your field, but you’ll also become a person people want to work with. The best networkers are the ones who give without expecting anything in return. It’s all about building up good karma throughout your career.
Don’t spread yourself thin
As mentioned earlier, you need to focus on quality, not quantity when networking. This applies to the events you attend along with the people you meet. When you first start networking it makes sense to attend a bunch of events to get an idea of which groups are a best fit for your work. Once you have an idea of the groups that work best, you should limit yourself to one general networking group (i.e. general business – not industry specific) and two or three industry specific groups which you attend regularly. You can always attend one off events however since networking is about relationship building, being part of a community helps to reinforce the bonds between professionals.
Networking is a form of socialization. Although it revolves around business, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Wine tastings, casino trips, golf outings, and virtually any activity you imagine can be a way to build connections. Meetup and Eventbrite are two of the largest sites for finding such events. Always carry a few business cards because you never know when you’ll meet someone you can help out and vice versa. Aside from building up your rolodex, you might make friends. Without the right mindset, you won’t have success. By helping others you’ll become the person people want to know.
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