You’ve heard it before: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”
Networking is one of the most valuable skills you can obtain as a business owner—and this doesn’t include your ability to hand out business cards during happy hour. It’s your ability to make genuine connections with a wide variety of people.
Want to become a master networker? Follow these 10 steps:
1. Get involved. – Whether it’s in groups on LinkedIn or activities in your community, put yourself out there to meet and engage others.
2. Start a conversation. – Share your opinion—when appropriate—and listen to others. For others to take interest in you, they need to understand who you are and need to know you’re interested in who they are.
3. Discover mutual interests. – Find out what is relevant and of importance to the person you are talking to. What is his/her passion? Connect with them on more than just business conversation.
4. Add value. – Now that you have found out more about the person and what they do, think about how your business can add value to theirs. People don’t necessarily want to know what you do, but instead what you can do for them.
5. Follow up. – Everything isn’t going to click and happen in your first meeting. Set yourself apart from the one-time meet and greets and follow up for coffee or lunch.
6. Remember the details. – Remember the things you discovered during your conversation and repeat them when you meet again. Your memory will signify their importance to you.
7. Give. – Information, time, energy, contacts, encouragement, whatever—give your new friend something to let them know you value this new relationship. The more you give, the more you stand to receive.
Note: “Fresh Ideas” are published each week by Countybank and its family of financial service companies. With financial centers in Greenville and Greenwood, Countybank has a team of highly engaged professionals ready to bring a full scope of financial solutions designed to help families and business owners reach their goals.