Many people have misconceptions about what marketing is. Sales has become a four-letter word, and people don’t want to do anything that smacks of pushing their services. But marketing is so much more than that. If done right, it will feel like a human connection and not a sales pitch.
Consider the most common question people ask when they meet you: What do you do? If you have a one minute explanation of your work that you can fire off at anytime, you will be more likely to make a good impression, which will lead to a stronger connection. If you confuse, you lose.
Here are some tips that will help you be more effective in your networking and have more fun in the process:
- Give more than you get-start by listening, and ask lots of questions before jumping in with your pitch.
- Find out what the person does and what their needs are.
- If you’re comfortable with the person, offer to introduce them to others in your network who share their interests or have complimentary skills.
- Ask the person if they’d like to meet for coffee or speak on the phone. Don’t be too aggressive, but convey genuine interest.
- The next day, send them a LinkedIn or Facebook request.
- If you offered to introduce the person to someone in your network, send a very brief note about that person to your contact. Ask their permission to pass their name along.
- If you plan to meet with your new contact, research the company or organization he or she works for.
When approached in this frame of mind, networking is a mutually satisfying experience.