America’s most reliable network maybe be Verizon, but YOUR most reliable network is YOU.
You are what you make of yourself. You create your future. You have to weave the web that becomes your catcher’s mitt for contacts.
Here are some tips to master the art of networking:
- When you meet a good contact, KEEP it. Make sure you always follow up and never let an extended period of time go by without contact. Always send an update and let them know that you are thinking of them and have their best interest in mind. Never forget about the RELATIONSHIP. Never be selfish; do not focus on yourself! Put your customer’s/contact’s needs FIRST. Make sure they know you have their best interest in mind. Never lose track of who you are trying to please… THE CUSTOMER, not yourself!
- Keep your address book safe! Once you have developed a reliable and respectful list of contacts (it will always be ongoing) make sure you keep your records straight. Make sure you know a bit of history of the contact, get the spelling right, and make sure you keep the email address and phone number safe!
- Speak the same language as your contact. No, this does not mean literally, but more important, figuratively. If your contact is working with you on a business endeavor, and is a computer wiz, make sure you know a little bit about computers! Personal example: Working with TestSoup and being responsible for a lot of web marketing such as Twitter, I knew it was an subject area I was unfamiliar with. So, I did some research and bought a book written by TK (General Partner of WV,LLC) called Web Advertising and Marketing. I have been reading it and it has genuinely improved my knowledge and understanding.
- Make a killer FIRST and ALWAYS impression. (Notice how I did not say LAST)! Always dress in Business casual. For example, you can wear jeans, but pair them with a pair of heels like dressy ankle boots (for females!) and or dressy flats. Try to arrange a top that is accompanied by a blazer or tailored jacket. Make sure your hair is in place and makeup neat. Accessorize with jewelry and maybe a scarf but do not be overly gaudy or flashy. You are not going out to a party, but to a business meeting. Try to dress and act on the same playing field as the person you are meeting with. Last but not least…always be prepared!:
- Have all recent emails printed out in date order
- Turn your cell phone on SILENT and put it away
- Have plenty of highlighters, pens, and post-its
- Have your planner out and ready to schedule a next meeting!
5. Be sure to begin and end the meeting in a professional manner. Greet your company with a firm handshake and close the meeting by thanking your guest for their time and remind them what a pleasure it is working with them. Be sure to remind them that you will be in touch!