By Dr. Sinclair N. Grey III
Let’s be honest for a moment and say business networking can be intimidating to a whole lot of people. The mere fact of entering a room full of strangers can lead to anxiety, fear, confusion, and even doubt. Think about it for a moment. Meeting strangers and trying to convince them that your product and/or service is better than your competitors can be overwhelming. So many people to meet and so many conversations to have. No wonder many people hesitate going to networking functions.
Here’s some news for you. Unless you fight through your fear of meeting new people, it will be difficult to get new clients/customers. Let’s take it a step further. If you don’t like people, why bother going into business? Being in business for yourself is more than making money. It should produce lasting relationships as well as a feeling of fulfilling a need. Just focusing on the bottom line will keep you from reaching the apex of business success.
Because networking can be intimidating to many people, I want to offer you a few suggestions on how to make your networking less fearful and more fun.
- Understand that networking is about building relationships, not closing a deal. When you understand that you goal is to meet people and establish some type of rapport, you’ll realize that people will open up more and share what they want and need
- Understand you’re not by yourself in being afraid. Many people who attend networking functions are just as nervous as you are. Learn how to laugh and engage in light conversations
- Have confidence in you and what you offer. When people ask about your business, that’s your time to speak confidently about what you offer. Don’t give a sales pitch. People want to do business with individuals who are confident. Potential customers will hear your confidence in your voice
- Use eye contact. I can’t stress enough the importance of looking someone in their eyes when communicating. It shows respect, honesty, and integrity. Think on this. How do you feel when someone doesn’t give you eye contact? Here’s a secret for you – the eyes are the window to the soul
- Have fun. Going to networking functions isn’t about collecting the most business cards. It’s about enjoying the environment, meeting new people, establishing old relationships, and learning useful information. When you make networking fun, you’ll see your bottom line increase.
Entrepreneurs cannot underestimate the importance of networking often. The question many ask is how many times should an entrepreneur attend networking functions? A logical answer is at least three times a week. That’s not a lot, if you know how to schedule your time properly.
You can never have too much business. In fact, having too much business is a good thing. Why not get a lot of business through networking effectively?
If you’re ready for your business to explode, click here to order ‘The ABC’s of Making Business Networking Work For You.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is a speaker, author, and success coach. Contact him on www.sinclairgrey.org or Twitter @drsinclairgrey