What is networking? Networking is about making connections and building lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.
If you ask any successful public relations expert or business person which single skill or habit helped them excel in their career, the majority of them will respond with one word – networking. As we gathered last month for our company’s annual meeting, we were fortunate to receive some unforgettable insight on the power of relationship building and networking from one of Boston’s top saleswomen and company advisor. Here are some of the highlights:
Everything is sales
“If you know how to sell, you will be able to survive and put food on the table for your family no matter what”. We sell and are sold ideas every day. Whether it is pitching a news story to a media outlet or meeting with potential new business – sales is a daily part of public relations. First and foremost, you must sell yourself and that is the product of successful networking.
Make it obvious you want to do business
It is important to keep in mind the purpose of networking – it is to do business. You do this by approaching someone with a bold idea, and providing value. For example, “I have the perfect solution and this is why it will work”. Networking is not about going up to a stranger and asking for business, it is about building solid, long-term relationships.
The “Irrefutable Fact”
Know your company’s irrefutable fact, which is evidence, a statement or an argument that cannot be shown to be incorrect. Write your own script, and study it – many times this will be the “key” to “getting in the door”. For Regan Communications Group, our irrefutable fact is that we are a full service communications agency that will do what is necessary to achieve our client’s objectives.
Your network will be useless if you don’t maintain it; that means following up and reaching out. You will receive many business cards, and you will need to find a way to be effective with them. Scan them, alphabetize them and put them all on a board so that you can make any and all connections.
Back to Basics
When it comes down to it, people do business with people who they like and trust. Face to face interaction is the most effective way to achieve this type of relationship.
Networking can be an awkward, intimidating task. However, we are aware that it is ultimately a task we must tackle in order to get ahead. By following these tips, you will learn to network your way to success.