Networking can be daunting. You'll see that you have to speak to new people, build trust and credibility, and find common ground that you can work together on. Then, once you get over the initial nerves and meet someone new, the next step is just as daunting: follow up consistently with everyone you’ve just met. But our Business Networking Checklist will help!
Networking is a game of repetition. You have to keep working at it until you succeed, but when you do succeed, your success rate increases exponentially, because you’re now getting exposure to more people than before.
Follow the checklist in the infographic below (details below the graphic, and you'll find that your business networking won't be quite so daunting any longer.
Your 6-Point Business Networking Checklist...
1 - Make a list of the Networking Events that are right for you
If a single business networking event fails for you, it won’t derail your business indefinitely. But if multiple networking events fail consecutively, then it starts affecting your business in a major way. This is choosing the right event or meeting is important.
It's so important that it's at the top of our checklist for business networking success. When you follow the checklist you'll find you break through the wall of intimidation that holds you back from making connections with others. Participating in meetings that are relevant will help. If you serve people who are in a tight geographic area, going to a networking event in another country might not serve you. Choose the events that will move you towards your goals.
2 - Make a list of who you want to meet: Dream 100 People
Meetings are important, but they’re only useful if you know who you want to meet. You need a list of at least 10 people who are relevant to your business - potential customers who you want to get to know better, and people who can introduce you to potential customers. Russell Brunson calls this list the Dream 100. It's where you have a spreadsheet of 100 people you want to work with. You might not be able to complete 100 straight away, so start with 10 people and gradually add to your dream list.
3 - Show up to every relevant networking event
It’s easy to feel like business networking events are a waste of time if you never attend any. But the truth is that networking events are where the majority of your business connections will come from, so it’s important to show up and put in the work. If you struggle to make personal connections at these events, don't panic. Keep showing up and eventually you will feel comfortable.
4 - Shake hands, where appropriate
Shaking hands will help you break the ice and show that you are ready to get to know someone. However, if you've worried about Covid or other contagious diseases, make sure you take hand sanitizer and any other precautions with you. Remember, not every culture shakes hands, so if someone doesn't want to shake your hand, don't assume the worst.
5 - Don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction/make your own introduction
Is there someone specific you'd like to meet? Ask for an introduction from someone else who already knows that person. Once you start to expand your network and feel you've gotten to know a few people you've connected with, pluck up the courage to see if anyone can introduce you to some of your Dream 100 people. You can save yourself a little time and find out which of your contacts are already connected with one of your Dream 100 by looking on their LinkedIn profile.
By the same token, introduce your connections to people who may benefit from that introduction. "Paying it forward" by helping others first will not only give you a reputation as someone who's generous with your time, it will also give you that extra confidence to ask others for help.
You never know where your next network connection will lead, so don't be shy. Ask for the introduction!
6 - Always accept business cards and follow up on them immediately
Most people want to stay in contact with you. Thrusting a business card in your hand can be a sign of nerves. Accept the card. Don't be the person that shames someone for giving over a business card; it's the easiest way to keep in touch with someone.
When you make contact, even if they don’t have anything specific to ask you, they may just be interested in hearing what's going on with your life after the meeting, and to take the opportunity to share what's going on in theirs. It's in this small talk that great relationships are formed. This isn't a sales conversation or a pitching opportunity, it's a getting-to-know-you opportunity.
Remember, you aren't obligated to follow up just by phone. You can connect with the person on LinkedIn and follow up there or by email.
Networking is a great way to start a new business, grow your current business, and make new connections.
But it can also be difficult to know what to do and how to go about it.
To make things easier for you, we have this fantastic Business Networking Skills course for you!
Essential Business Networking Skills
Teach Yourself. Then teach your audience.