The art of networking

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Successful networking can generate lucrative leads for your business and help you to build long-term relationships with your clients.

While pretty much all other marketing activities so far discussed will cost money as well as time to put into place, networking usually has very few monetary overheads and the time needed should not be too costly either. As with most things worthwhile, it's down to the effort you put in. Here what you need to get the most out of your marketing.

Show commitment

Aim to develop a network of relationships for the long-term. This is a continual process that requires regular contact with your network and attendance of networking functions.

Focus on giving not getting

You need to show an interest in other's needs rather than getting your sales point across. Try to help others with referrals, introductions, information and feedback. Rewards will come back naturally over time.

Be a good listener

Learn to read between the lines, ask questions and give positive and constructive input.

Become curious

Find out more about someone's business. This was you are more likely to be able to help them and also uncover areas where they could help you. People are always interested in people who are interested in them.

Be rigorous with your follow up

You need to follow up immediately. If you leave it for six months your contact will have forgotten you. Even if you can't see an immediate benefit for you or your contact, you never know what's around the corner so keep in touch.

Ask for help

Make your needs clear, otherwise, people don't know what you're looking for. If you don't ask you'll never know whether or not someone can help you.

Be able to brag

Share your achievements so that you can show confidence in your abilities, otherwise why should anyone else? Taking credit for your achievements is not the same as boasting, so don't be shy about mentioning any awards, big contracts or other achievements.

Be a consumer of knowledge

By reading up on current affairs, particularly in your profession, you'll find it easier to hold your own in a conversation and maintain someone else's interest. Being able to comment on topics of conversation will help inspire further confidence from others and raise your standing.

Have courage

Speak to strangers. It expands your network of contacts.

Be prepared

Make sure you know what you are going to say when you are presenting yourself and your business.

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