1. Smile. Your smile is your billboard advertisement. People see it from afar. It says, you’re friendly, happy to be here and excited about life. It will draw them closer to “read you more.”
2. Offer a firm handshake. Personal touch is powerful and it says a lot about you. A weak handshake can be interpreted as lack of passion for life while a heavy one can literally hurt someone.
3. Introduce yourself first. Many people are intimidated in a public setting. Make them feel at ease by first telling them your name, nature of your business and handing them your card asking for theirs in return. Look at his/her card and repeat his/her name (it’s the sweetest name in his/her ear).
4. Make eye contact. Don’t look over the person’s shoulder as you search for a “higher net worth” contact. Give undivided attention to the person you’re talking to. This indicates respect and makes them feel important.
5. Don’t gravitate towards the people you already know. It’s ok to acknowledge them, but spend more time meeting people you don’t know. That’s the purpose of networking. Introduce someone to people you know.
6. Don’t get naked. Don’t start telling everything about yourself. Give interesting nuggets about yourself but don’t hog the conversation. Keep dialogue in short (2-3 min) segments, pass the conversation ball.
7. Ask open ended questions. For example, instead of saying, isn’t the weather great today? (Answer: yes/no). Ask, “What kind of weather do you like?” Or “Do you know what the weather forecast is for this weekend?”
8. Generously use the phrase, “What do you think?” Asking people about their opinion is a great way to show respect and add value to them. It causes them to open up to you.
9. Avoid selfish people. After asking numerous questions, if the person you’re talking to doesn’t ask questions back about you, simply move on.
10. Be genuinely interested in the person regardless of the nature of his/her business. He may not be in the same industry as you but he can lead you to others who can be beneficial to you.
11. Speak with a slow but firm voice that demonstrates excitement (not loud). You must exude positive energy and vitality. The tone of your voice says a lot about you. Speaking slowly helps people understand and remember you.
12. Refrain from making any negative comments or biting into a controversial subject. Your goal is to make friends and gain referrals, not win debates. Curb the appetite to correct people and give them a piece of your mind.
13. Be generous and give quality leads. If you don’t have any, offer to be their eyes and ears. This is where the golden rule is applied. If you offer leads, most people will feel compelled to return the favor.
14. Don’t come to the meeting starving. You’re coming to net-work. Conversation, getting to know people should be the focus – not the food. (I know; I’m disappointed too!)
15. Focus on building relationship. It will enrich your life and the benefits will follow.
16. Write a thank you and acknowledgement back within 48 hours. After the event, send a thank you and acknowledgement back for the opportunity to meet.
17. Set up an appointment. A successful networker knows how to follow up. If you’re not going to invest the time to meet face to face, share valuable information then you’ll be limited in your potential. Years ago I told myself, “Every person is worth at least one hour of my time.”
18. After the initial meeting, keep in touch every 2-3 weeks using email, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter, notes, gift, leads, prayer, and encouragement, offer your service or product. Ask for their business or referrals.
19. People don’t buy product, they buy the experience of you. Starbucks and restaurants make billions creating an environment and giving customers an experience. You can do better because you’re smaller, therefore you can offer customers a tailor made experience.
20. Ask God’s favor. You can work alone or work in partnership. If you ask God to become your senior partner, He will bring favor that will propel your business to flourish. Tie your business up with a Kingdom cause and you’re business will go to another level.
Bonus: Stop selling and start listening. The more you know about your client the better equipped you’ll be to fill a need in that person with your service or product. You won’t believe how valuable information people give away if you just take the time to listen.
Happy networking! I’m praying for your success.
More Life Lessons at: http://www.buildinternational.org/