Your role as a business owner often puts you front and center with customers, other business owners, and industry organizations to represent your company on a daily basis. How you network and interface with everyone you meet will strongly influence your chances for success and largely shapes public perception.
Whether you are networking with industry partners and vendors, or local customers interested in your services, you need to consistently present a strong and engaging presence to make the most of every opportunity.
Here are five strategies for effective in-person networking:
1. Present a Good First Impression
This first strategy is the most fundamental and basic of all. You must present a good first impression regardless of your audience or environment. It all starts with your personal appearance and the confidence you project.
It is imperative that you dress appropriately for every networking event. Event dynamics partly determine dress, but your presentation should always be professional, clean and polished. This will help exude confidence and self-assurance, which builds trust and support.
2. Present Yourself as a Solution Provider
Business executives often use the phrase "there are no problems, only solutions." To this end, you should present yourself as a solution provider with expertise in your field. Whatever your customers need can be met by the range of solutions you offer. As a solution provider, you are looking to go above and beyond just problem-solving. For home security providers, this means helping your customers
create a safer, more efficient home or business.
3. Listen First, Talk Second
One of the dangers of in-person networking is focusing so much on what you have to offer that you are not paying attention to the value others may bring to your business. This is a good way to guarantee your networking opportunities will have little impact. In short, you should always listen first and talk second.
Listen carefully to what others are saying to the point of being able to engage them in constructive conversation. Within that conversation, you can steer them to your own message. Constructive conversations between multiple networking partners accomplishes a lot more than simply walking into a room with a hard sales pitch.
4. Learn to Recognize Unproductive Discussions
In every in-person networking environment, there are some discussions that will prove unproductive and are simply not a good use of your time. It is important to learn how to recognize those discussions so that you don't linger on them. You need to focus your attention on interactions that will be productive for both your business and your eventual partners.
5. Research Your Opportunities
A little pre-event research can go a long way toward achieving effective results from networking. Take the time to do your due diligence to appear informed and knowledgeable about your industry and peers.
Prior to attending any in-person networking event, be sure to research that event thoroughly. Know its history; get to know what kinds of people attend it; talk to others who have attended in the past. With research information in hand, you can develop a game plan that will help you make the most of that particular opportunity.
In-person networking is an invaluable element in ensuring the success of a modern business. Make the most of every available opportunity to stay on top in your field. For our new Authorized Dealers, Monitronics offers a week-long networking event called MoniX, that helps build relationships, refine skills and share ideas. To learn more about this and other opportunities, visit MoniDealerProgram.com/support.