February 02, 2012

Expanding Your Network

Have you ever attended a networking event, and didn't know what to do after? There are so many people who attend such events, and then don't take any action with the new contacts met. In order to successfully build your network of contacts, you should follow these tips on how to create and maintain a long-term relationship with new contacts:

  • Follow-Up. This cannot be emphasized more! Following up with new contacts is the first and most important step in building your relationship with a new contact. With every contact met, it is suggested that you contact him or her within 24 hours. By following up quickly within meeting with a new contact, you're taking your first step into making a sale, getting a job, or even gaining a referral.

  • Keep Track. As easy as it may seem to remember when you met someone, it is even more difficult to remember what you talked about it. Try to keep track of everything about a new contact. Make sure you have the correct name, how you two met, where you met specifically, and what the conversation was about. Jot down notes after meeting a new contact, and then refer to it when you follow up!

  • Network Continuously. As an individual, or a businessperson, every contact you interact with should always be thought of as a networking opportunity. By building relationships with anyone and everyone, you are able to build your vast network of contacts. You never know when someone may think of you for a referral, or for an opportunity of a lifetime.

  • Gratitude. Always be sincere and genuine when you are thanking anyone that helps you. A simple thank you e-mail, card, or even phone call showing your gratitude will help you build long-term relationships with that contact. It is nice to be appreciated for your efforts, so don't forget this vital step in mastering your valuable relationships!

  • Helpful. Simply treat others the way you want to be treated. If you're seeking someone's help, there's a chance someone else wants your help as well. Always keep your eyes peeled for anything interesting you may want to share with others, or provide an opportunity to others. By thinking of others, you can build effective long-term relationships.

The key to networking is to build a relationship that is not only goal- oriented, but to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. By networking successfully, you are able to build a large network in which you will find all types of connections. Just by following these simple tips, you will be well on your way to building valuable relationships!