Five Steps for Productive Networking
Facilitating networking is at the core of what we do at NY Tech Mixer. The old adage of “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is still very true in the digital age. We want to make sure our members get the most out of networking at our events, so we asked someone whose job relies on networking to offer some advice on how to network more effectively. Tony Hang is a Senior Sales Representative and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Here, he presents five steps for productive networking.
Networking as defined by the Merriam dictionary is “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business”. At the core of this definition are individuals. To create a successful network, you must get to know people.
1. Develop a purpose and a plan
Prepare and practice an intro about who you are and what you are capable of offering. Practice your intro so that it comes off naturally. Understand what you are looking to get out of these events. This will allow you to choose with whom you would like to network and allow you to spend your time more effectively. To help networkers more effectively utilize their time at events, many organizers (like NY Tech Mixer) will have a way to distinguish groups from one another. Focus on your group of interest to maximize your time. However, don’t disregard a person or group because they don’t fit into your networking plan. You never know how that relationship could benefit you in the future.
2. Capture your audience
Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation, smile, and learn their names. It’s much easier and more interesting to converse with people that appear to be warm and inviting.
Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, believed using a person’s name is incredibly important when establishing a relationship. “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
3. Get to know People
People are more likely to do business with people they like. Become interested in the dialogue and conversation, but do not become the dialogue or conversation. Once you’ve established a good relationship and network, you’ll have plenty of time to share information about yourself. Dig deep; learn about them as a whole person, not just about their professional careers.
Why did you decide to attend this event?
How did you get into your line of work?
What do you love and dislike about your line of work?
If the conversation is going well ask about their families and personal life:
What do you love to do on your spare time?
Did you grow up here?
4. Share and care (pay it forward)
Share your resources. The more willing you are to help someone, the more willing they will be to reciprocate.
A potential client once asked if we could provide a very specific product that we did not manufacture. I provided him with the contact to a competitor that did manufacture what he needed. Although I lost that small project I gained the trust of this client for life. With this simple gesture I was able to reposition myself as a resource and not just another manufacturer vying for his business. He now consults with me on all projects pertaining to this aspect of his business and utilizes our products on as many projects as he can.
5. Follow up
When you have established a good conversation, ask the other person how they prefer to stay in touch; some prefer phone calls, text, emails, or social network etc… Follow up with that contact within 48 hours of your conversation. In your follow-up, refer to your discussions during your meeting to help them remember who you are. I prefer to end my follow-ups with “Keep in touch. If there’s anything I can assist you with in the future let me know.”
To continue the conversation, you can contact Tony Chhun Hang at Hangt0883@gmail.com.