July 9, 2021
TiE Guru Gives You Tips on How To Network Successfully
Networking often brings fear into people. Others think networking is all about getting something for yourself, especially using networking to hustle for sales. The truth is, authentic networking is not about that. It is about building a relationship with other people that will last for a lifetime. When you do this, you will automatically look after your own business as well as support someone else. It is about building a people ecosystem, that is symbiotic, thus helping both thrive.
Vandana Saxena Poria, OBE and Chief Alarmist at the Human Alarm Clock & Co shows you how to be successful at networking.
Vandana Saxena Poria
5 tips on How to be a good networker
1) Have a strong and memorable opening
You are aiming for people to remember you. So if you say something like, ‘I am the sales manager of a company which is into CRM software,’ you will be automatically relegated into product oblivion. If you however say, ‘Well, our brains can only process 40 bits of information per second. So we have developed a software product that help you remember what is important and when, so you can anticipate your customer’s needs before they do.’
If you spend a bit of time, you will find an innovative way to introduce yourself and your company so that your potential target is saying ‘tell me more – you are interesting…’
2) Be in the other person’s world
So how do you forget yourself and be in the other person’s world? Simple:
a) Ask questions to get onto the other person’s wavelength
b) Listen and respond to the other person, thinking about your knowledge and contacts – can you support them in any way?
Why? The first principle is to build a commonality with the other person that goes beyond the job role. Don’t be out to get something for yourself. Be there to be ‘of service’ authentically – you have to have a stake in them and their interests before they will trust you. So try to find that twinkle in their eye when you hit on a topic they are interested in or have experienced. It could be to do with work or to do with hobbies. It may be to do with a work challenge they are facing. Then build on it by listening attentively and making appropriate suggestions – it may be asking them if they have read a particular book or seen a particular video that might assist them, or a person that you think they could meet to get ideas. See, if you start by always putting yourself in a place where you are being helpful and of service, others will naturally feel comfortable being around you. They will see you as someone who asks good questions, listens and can also offer solutions where needed. That is more valuable than being Mr/Mrs X you ABC company with Y job title.
You may not land a sale in the first meeting, but you will be remembered with a smile, and that is invaluable. That is the start of a much longer lasting relationship. Remember, it is not about the next sale. It is about having pipelines of relationships for life which will over time lead to sales to not just that person, but all their friends because they trust you.
3) Keep in touch with a wide range of people
Now this does not mean with everyone you meet (although LinkedIn or industry platforms are a good way to do this), but you think of the ten most important contacts you made this quarter, and you really make an effort to keep in touch. If you find an article or a podcast that relates to something they were talking about, you could send it to them with a note that you thought of them. If you have some questions about their industry, you could write to ask them. I will often write to clients with research I am doing on how to make a product or service better, BUT frame it from their point of view – what do they want to see in a product or service that would make it more relevant for them.
How often should you keep in touch? The honest answer is enough to be remembered, but not enough to be annoying! So you will have to gauge that.
4) When you are going to sell, be razor-sharp on your value proposition
When eventually it comes to that moment where you have developed such a good relationship that the other person is thinking about buying from you, ensure you are clear on the value to them directly, with statistics and testimonials. Undersell rather than oversell.
5) Become a thought leader as well as a thought follower/commenter
Write, blog or podcast about your subject! You have a unique experience, and you know about your product or service. Are there allied fields that you can write in. Can you start to build a following? If you become well known in your area, the chances are people will start to get to know you before they actually meet you. This is crucial for entrepreneurs. Every so often, you can also send a link to something you have written or recorded o your potential customers, so they can see your expertise. You can ask for their comments, their advice or their thoughts.
And ensure you also follow what the potential clients are writing too. Comment thoughtfully on their posts as well and add value where you can.
If you follow these five tips on networking, very soon you will see your relationships blossoming and seeds of sales, support and sunshine growing firmly all around. Leading you away from surviving into thriving. Try it and let us know how it goes.
Worldwide the success rate for start-ups is 10%. But at TiE Pune’s Nurture Accelerator program it is 39%. While our numbers tell their own story, we showcase here our mentees who tell how TiE helped their business.
Shravani Hagargi, founder Safe Hands 24x7
What does your company do?
Safe Hands 24×7 was born from a dream of gender equality with hopes of helping women become confident and economically independent while ensuring their empowerment and improved livelihoods. We at Safe Hands recruit men and women from urban slums and villages and train them as security guard and housekeeping staff. We also provide them employment.
What made you join this program?
Simply because it offers so much! It’s unique program with several useful sessions. They also provide handholding session that I feel are important to every new entrepreneur.
How has the Nurture Accelerator helped you?
The most important thing I learnt was how to match my product with the customer’s need.
Also, here I understood that everyone has a different perspective on their business and markets and I understood how different ideas/perspectives can be matched to suit my business. It gave me a good opportunity to network, learn and grow.
What were the three most important learnings?
Before I joined Nurture, I believed that negotiation was one-sided, it was something where only one party benefitted. However, Nurture opened my eyes. Now I understand that negotiation should have two winners, both parties must win for it to be successful.
The other thing I learnt was that I should be able to identify where the strength of my business lies. Since my business is not about technology, the entry to my business is low. However, the success lies in being able to manage the human resource. And therein lies the power.
And third, it is about what to sell, whom to sell, where to sell and how to create the awareness of respective product or services.
What’s your message to other founders?
Learning is a lifelong process, every stage of our profession we need to be open to all the opinions and suggestions from the mentors. Mentors are the ones who work selflessly to promote mentee company. In my opinion, the Nurture as a whole program is not supporting the entrepreneurs, but building a great value system in each mentee. I wholeheartedly thank all the mentors, the course is designed in such a way that we will remember the lessons we learnt in these nine months for life!