1 year ago
April 13, 2016

3 Tips to Successful Networking

These tips for successful networking will help you build your networking skills and begin leveraging your own professional network.

Rhys Metler

Successful networking is integral to developing a successful career in sales. The reciprocity involved in networking must, however, amount to more than concessions to be successful; it should first be based on building meaningful relationships with others. It is also important to remember that networking is not just for planning career changes. Networking is also important for developing skills and abilities, advancement, and finding sales opportunities.These tips for successful networking will help you build your networking skills and begin leveraging your own professional network. 

1. Craft Your Own Narrative

A common break in networking etiquette is to dominate the conversation with an unclear narrative or purpose. Even at networking events the people present have limited time and likely have specific objectives that they mean to accomplish. If you are not able to speak to your experience and purpose succinctly in a way that builds a connection with others, your networking will not be as successful as it could be. Craft your own narrative for networking success:

  • What is your purpose for networking? Be clear about your purposes for wanting to make a connection through networking to create interest and avoid misunderstandings.
  • What are you looking to offer others in return for assistance? This is an important part of the give and take of networking. Be sure that you are offering more than the products and services from your organization, as this is would be selling, not networking.
  • What are your short and long term goals? When you begin networking you will hear many others speak about their goals; be able to describe your own so that you can find contacts who can help.

2. Let Your Personality Speak

It is important to let your genuine personality come through in networking. For many sales people this will come naturally, but for others it may be more of a challenge when set outside of the traditional sales environment. Crafting your narrative should help you demonstrate your personality, but you may also consider analyzing how you tend to interact in networking situations and how this differs from how you interact at other social events to determine whether you are being true to yourself, and in turn, your professional contacts. Preparing for networking conversations ahead of time may also help you feel more comfortable with the networking process. Try developing a few possible topics for conversation so that you do not need to worry about what to talk about next.

3. Add Value to the Relationship

Though you may choose many of your professional networking colleagues through similar interests and goals, it is still important for all parties in your network to add value – which includes yourself. Use the following tactics to add value to your networking efforts:

  • Become an information source. Whenever you find information that could be relevant to your contacts, be generous in sharing it. The litmus test for whether information is relevant and valuable should be, “Is this something that this person probably already knows?” If the answer is no or not yet, share your information timely.
  • Be available to your contacts. Networking can lose its purpose if you are not available to your contacts when needed, or if it takes too long for you to return a call or e-mail. Make networking part of your professional schedule during the week to ensure you remain on top of the task.
  • Reciprocate, reciprocate, reciprocate. If you would like your professional network to help you, you should also be willing to help your network. Whenever you find it in your ability to forward a referral, provide a reference, or share a new idea, be sure to do so.

Like many other sales habits, networking comes more naturally the more frequently you engage. Find out about professional meetings and associations in your area through colleagues and peers to begin building a professional network that can help you succeed.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.