Is Your Networking Style Not Working? Three Tactics to Improve Your Success

Love it or hate it, Networking is THE best way to attract new business.

If your Networking activities are not yielding the results you seek, consider these three tactics:

1. Collect resources, not cards; hunt for providers, not prospects. Consider yourself the hub of a wheel with your many contacts as spokes. It's not about ME; it IS about YOU. YOU is the person in conversation, who might have issues with their landlord. Perhaps you know an attorney or mediator who can help. YOU is the new contact who is a bookkeeper and works with app developers, like your cousin. Make a connection between this person as a resource and someone who would benefit from such expertise.

2. Engage in pre-event marketing to build a welcoming committee. Before you attend the networking cocktail event held by an industry group, chamber of commerce or professional membership organization, view the host's website. Make a list of the officers and committee chairs; locate their email addresses. Send each one a note one week in advance of the event and indicate your interest in joining the group. When they respond to your email (or LinkedIn connection request), indicate that you will wear a green tie (man) or red jacket (woman), so that you can find each other in the crowded room. At the event, learn all you can about the organization and why they joined. Ask to be introduced to another officer. Work the room to meet many of the leaders on your list. With this approach to a welcoming committee, you go from a bystander to an insider.

3. Ask Problem and Solution Questions. In conversation, find out the types of issues and situations the new contact grapples with and learn how they address and resolve these problems. Asking What was the highlight of the year (or quarter) working with your clients gives the respondent an opportunity to brag about their success. People are always eager to talk about themselves and don't have the opportunity to do so often enough. You will also learn how the person might align with your contacts as a solution provider or for future collaboration.

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