As a business owner, you know that you need to network. You know networking will help you get to know people, build relationships, and even build your reputation as an expert if you know what you are doing. To be successful with networking, avoid these common mistakes.
Not Having a Goal – You should create a goal for general networking but also for each networking channel, be it online or offline. Before any event, write down the goal you want to achieve. For example, you want to connect with at least three new people, so that you know when you leave if you have been successful or not.
Not Being You – Many people think that because they have a business, they need to exaggerate and make themselves look bigger and better than they are. But the truth is, you simply need to be yourself because it is you that makes your business and offerings special. Be Self-Expressed.
Not Listening More Than You Talk – You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason, therefore practice mindful listening. Repeat back to others what you heard, mirror their thoughts, and ask appropriate questions. They will actually remember you more this way.
Hanging Out with Competitors – While you do want to get to know your competitors, you will make more sales by networking with the people who need what you have. Commiserating with colleagues is useful, but it w increase your sales.
Not Pushing Your Boundaries – Going to events can be scary, but it is important to push your boundaries if you want to grow your business. You can start slow with online events, and then move slowly into offline events.
Acting like a Wallflower – Do not go to an event and stand in a corner all alone. Mingle and get to know people. A good trick to help you accomplish this without getting sick is to volunteer to be a greeter at the event, handing out name tags, or something else that requires you to speak to people.
Being the Last One Standing – At any in-person event, you want to make your exit before the last minute. Being the last one at an event can be a sign of desperation. Instead, leave people wanting more.
Having No Energy – When you speak to people, project your voice but do not yell, and show some likeable energy about you. You want people to feel good when you talk to them.
Common networking mistakes that business owners make can be avoided with just a little bit of knowledge and planning. You can be very successful with networking as a business owner. Today, most people do not have an issue working with someone who has a home office, so you can go into any situation with confidence. The important thing is that you can do what you say you can do and follow through.
Rich Thurman’s passion is helping small businesses realize their full potential. With twenty years of real world experience in both small and large business, Rich has worked for and with both global industry leaders and small-town family-run storefronts.
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