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How to Make Networking Work For You in 8 Steps

networking Aug 26, 2020

By Catherine Byers Breet w/ Arbez

Networking is small part science, large part art. There are plenty of social media platforms available with millions of people using them daily. So how do you make yourself stand out and get noticed?

This is an 8 point plan to help you identify who you want to connect with and how to improve the response rate for your connection requests.

In today’s world it is easy to reach people online, but time is very precious.  People have a lot going on in real life that may prevent them from responding online. Before you send your next connection request or referral request email, work through these steps:

  1. Set some big picture goals - what do you want your network to look like 1 year from now. Who do you want in your network?  What do you want to be known for?  This will help you make smart decisions on who to connect with.
  2. Set some short term, immediate goals. What do you need in the next 30 days? What connections are going to help you get there?
  3. What are your ideal connections? Clients, channel partners, industry experts etc
  4. Take a look at your social media footprint (all of them.) Update your profiles on social media. Decide what does your target audience need to see and hear from you?  People will look at your profile before they connect with you.

Those steps focus inward on you. Next it is time to focus outward:

  1. Identify good referral partners: Who also sells into your target market, but doesn’t compete with you? (think dentist and orthodontist)
  2. Identify where your target audience hangs out. Check out groups on social media. Find professional associations or industry groups.

So now you know who you want to connect with, how do you actually make that connection?

  1. Use your networking tools on LinkedIn and Facebook. They make the actual process of requesting connections very simple. Personalize your request whenever possible. Here for tips on how to create an effective LinkedIn connection request

You are working through the process, now what? 

  1. Become a hungry learner - devour every article on how to become a more effective networker. Ask those who are already good at networking for advice. Things are always changing and even an expert can learn something new.

Review these steps regularly, particularly your short term goals to ensure you stay focused with your networking. If you are interested in learning more about networking check out The Networking Edge Kit for Consultants

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