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Networking Made Easy

 Nick Roberts

 

There's always loads of articles about networking so today I'm going to focus on three areas which are my secrets to successful networking.

Firstly, when you're networking let the other person do the talking, drawing them out if need be by repeating the last three words they've said. Nearly everyone likes to talk about themselves and they'll feel good about you because you've listened and been interested.

Secondly, use the time you're listening to work out what you can do for them. Avoid the very basic mistake that many make while networking which is to focus on what the other person can do for you. Successful networking is a long term process over many years and if you expect instant results or try and sell on your first meeting you're wasting your time. Could you, for example, introduce them to your wonderful accountant, refer them to friends or lend them a business book? What you should be doing is to show that you care, are helpful and are generally knowledgeable about business. Whilst they may not buy from you immediately, if you keep in contact (of which more below), they'll remember you when they hit a problem with their current supplier. Or sometimes (I find this quite common) they'll refer you to others even if they don't use you themselves.

Lastly, you must follow up your first contact regularly to make sure they don't forget you. Initially, email them the following day with some marketing info and ask them for coffee. Then put them on your database and send them your newsletter regularly. In addition, if they're influential diarise a follow up meeting unless you're likely to meet them at future networking events.

Networking that works is easy if you approach it the right way and build it into your routine. I use a simple networking plan which sets out targets for contacts made, business cards collected and coffee meetings attended. If you'd like a copy just ask, I'll critique your networking technique when you invite me for a coffee!

If you have any tax or business queries of any kind telephone 0800 ASK NICK, e-mail me at nick@abac.co.nz or use "Contact Us" on www.abac.co.nz. The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific advice.

 
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