Networking can sometimes be difficult. Building relationships and building trust can potentially be a long and tricky road. There are many tips to help you to network effectively but here, we are listing Five Roadblocks that can hinder your success with building those important relationships.
- Little to no follow up
Arguably the largest, and potentially the worst mistake that could be made while networking is having a lack of follow up after meeting a new contact. Forgetting to engage your new contact means that you have little to no chance of getting this person as a new client and/or partner. To ensure that you follow up with every new contact, it is important to develop a system. This way you will always remember people who you have met and any tasks that you should do in relation to that person. Your system could include having an App on your phone to scan business cards in, a spreadsheet or program to note any facts and extra details about the person and points to remember.
- Not Being Clear about What Makes You Unique in the Market Place
A lot of people make a mess out of presenting what it is that they do and who they do it for. It is simply not enough to declare “I’m in X business and I help anyone”. This is too general, and usually does not engage the listener. Rather, be specific what you do, who it is for and the benefits it will bring. Also include a time frame if possible.
- Focussing on the Quantity of Connections, rather than Quality
Have you ever been at a networking meeting or social event and seen people introducing themselves to each and every other person in the room in an effort to generate interest and only spending a few minutes actually talking to anyone?
This is not so much networking, as trying to work the room and praying that something sticks. These people usually take the business cards, put them on their data base and then ‘spam’ them with non-relevant offers without asking permission.
Networking at its core is about relationships, specifically two-way relationships. It is not about trying to get as many business cards as possible from people in the room, but it is about developing rock-solid relationships with those that you can truly provide a mutual benefit for.
Spend time to make those connections and then plan to meet up at a later date with relevant people to further develop the relationships.
- Not responding quickly to referral partners
Speed is important when contacting new referrals for the first time. People like to feel that they are a priority and treating them as such will do wonders for your relationship. Waiting a week to contact someone when they know you had their information sends a message that they are low down on your list. Part of being professional is your reliability of making timely contact with others.
- Ensure you are on the same page
A mistake seen too often in early networking is that both parties have different expectations for what the other should be doing. A little communication goes a long way to avoid major problems that can occur over time. Not being clear on what the expectations are, what each person should be doing and what the next step is, can not only do damage to your relationship with just one person. Word of mouth is a powerful tool and gaining a bad reputation for ‘burning’ relationships with people can be a potential disaster for you and your business. We always recommend giving something (little) for free if possible when starting to build a relationship to help build the trust.
It is important also that you do not start asking favours of other people before you have developed the trust between you and the other person, especially big favours. Most people are very generous with their time and we should never take this for granted and abuse the situation. It is the same if others ask you for a favour, no-one has time to be a pushover, so ensure that it is a fair trade being passed between the two of you. Little favours such as passing on recommendations, gifting an E-Book and offering minor discounts for services are fine. Renovating their front porch after the first meeting is not.