Being a business professional is a lot more than what you wear, where you studied, and what you’re selling. When you’re working in the business world, who you work with is just as important as who you work for.
Networking is an essential and utterly crucial part of being a business professional. No matter how good you are with numbers and charming your customers, if you don’t have the meaningful connections needed to get the product made, transport it from place to place, or market it correctly, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Every professional you ask may have a different piece of advice to give about effective networking, but here are seven important hacks we want you to remember as you build your network in the business world.
1. Reach Out to People You’ve Already Networked
It’s not enough to just get the contact and wait by the phone for them to call, and it’s not about always making new connections when you network. Things are always changing and evolving and someone who reaches out to check on clients, customers, and colleagues to inquire about their progress is bound to make a lasting, positive impression.
It’s definitely worth it to cast a wide net in person and on networking apps to spread word of you and your company as far as possible. And it can be invaluable for you to deepen already existing relationships, even if you’ve never worked with them before.
2. Play the Networking Long Game
Don’t search for a contact to help with a project that’s due tomorrow! Network all types of people working different jobs in different industries all the time. It may seem like you’re collecting numbers just for the sake of collecting numbers, but you truly never know whose number you might need, and you never know who might already have a connection to whom.
Make connections, exchange contact information, build relationships across the board, and be patient! You’ll be glad you saved that number and made that connection!
3. Have a CV and Business Cards Handy
Of course, this one is an old classic, “always keep a business card handy, you never know who you’ll meet”. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, right? This is good advice all the time, but it’s DEFINITELY important if you’re going to lunch with clients, a corporate event, a conference, or somewhere else where you might only have a few minutes to make your case to someone.
Introduce yourself and send potential contacts home with a clean, well-designed business card so they can follow up later.
Don’t be afraid to try out some digital options, too! Link your portfolio to a QR code on your business card and stay active on networking apps. Some mobile apps like StayTouch instantly and digitally exchange contact information with others and organize those contacts for your convenience.
4. Do Your Homework
In general, being knowledgeable about the big hitters in your industry is always a good idea. So if you’re going to a networking event, make a concerted effort to know just a little bit about who you might run into.
Impress potential contacts by being aware of who they are, what they do, and what they’re looking for.
Always be prepared with some information about your company and interests, as well. If you know two things about their company, know four things about your own company to brag about.
5. Stay In Line Online
A firm handshake and eye contact is definitely important for networking, but don’t get left behind in the digital landscape! Social media platforms are everywhere and it’s important to make a great first impression.
Oftentimes, your online presence is your first impression to contacts. For this reason, staying clean and professional online is crucial . Just like a firm handshake, having a wholesome, informative, professional aesthetic will go a long way toward building your network.
Interested in a smart networking platform that can provide digital business cards, contact management, relationship building, calendars, messaging, and more? Check out the StayTouch app here!