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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

Tips for Effective Networking

Networking can be very effective in building your business if done right. Networking needs to be consistent regardless if you are networking online or offline.

Networking takes place in everyday life. If you need a new doctor you ask a friend or you when you need a new hairdresser. This is networking

Here are a few basics when it comes down to networking.

Networking is NOT about selling your business or products to everyone you meet. It is about gaining contacts and getting your name out there.

Don’t come on too strong the first time you meet new people. People are put off when you are overly aggressive. Relax and speak casually yet professionally.

Share about yourself, not just your business. You want to build a relationship and not just be a walking ad 24/7. People do business with people they know and trust.

Ask people what they do and invite them to share about themselves and their business. Showing genuine interest and not making it all about "me" makes you likeable and someone others want to do business with.

Listen more than you talk and ask questions that will get people talking. This will be done in return as well so don't worry you are talking about everyone else and you never come up.

Ask for their business card. Getting the business card allows you to follow up. You can exchange cards if you wish but always get their card or if online, their email or IM name. Ask permission to contact them again. If you don't ask you will spam them. Nobody likes being invaded.

Make notes on things contacts offer that might be useful to yourself or others. Keep index cards on hand to make notes and file the business card with the index card. This is also great to make note if a contact makes mention of an occasion coming up such as a birthday or anniversary. This gives you a reason to pick up the phone and make a call.

Find common ground with the person you’re getting to know. If you both enjoy wine tasting, you have something to talk about other than business. If you have nothing in common you may not be comfortable talking to this person outside of business. That can make the contact awkward so find that common ground.

If asked what you do don’t give someone a long sales pitch. Keep it short and informative. This is where your mini commercial comes in. This is a 20-30 second explanation of what you do, why you love it, and shows your enthusiasm.

Always tell the person you were talking with it was a pleasure meeting them and ask if it is ok if you add them to your contact list. The worst thing you can do is add them without permission and insult them. Never burn bridges.

Don't file your contacts away never to be heard from again. Use them when you need something. Refer them when someone else needs them. If you don't use or refer their services they will forget about you. When you refer someone, tell them to mention your name such as "tell them Olivia from So Chic Bag Boutique referred you." This will remind them of who you are and not just a name.

Keep it professional. Watch your language. Offensive language will not be tolerated and you will be tossed to the side. People want to do business with professionals.

If you do it right networking and propel your business in the right direction.

Olivia Vidal
© 2009


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