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The Long Game vs Going Viral – Successful Networking

Sep 23, 2022 | Networking Tips

7 Ways to become a successful Networker

Do you think the best way to grow your business is through a network or virally?  Any business owner who has posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or even Tik Tok have hoped that their post would “go viral” and business would flood into them.  Now, the definitions I’ve seen talk about going viral meaning that you receive over 5 million views, likes, comments, etc…  This isn’t what small business owners (Plumbers, Business Coaches, Real Estate Agents,…) are looking for.  I don’t know a plumbing company in any city I’ve been in that could handle the feedback from 5 million views.

What are you really looking for from your marketing?

The answer is likely to be new customers, long-term business opportunities and broader name recognition.

Peter Graham, a blogger for Bridge and a consultant supporting the start-up sector, recently noted in a blog some differences between Network Effects and Viral Effects of marketing.

“Network Effects Vs Viral Effects: The Key Differences

·         Network effects are value-oriented, while viral effects are growth-oriented

·         Network effects are long-lasting, viral effects are short-lived

·         Network effects focus on keeping/retaining customers; viral effects arouse on attracting new customers

·         Network effects are multidimensional, and viral effects are unidirectional

·         Network effects have a value payoff, and viral effects have an emotional payoff”

This summary lays out a good platform to build upon for building your business through the Network Effect.

Here is our summary definition:

Networking is value-oriented marketing to create a long-lasting effect of gaining and keeping customers from a multidimensional approach that have a long term value payoff for the business.

Here are 7 ways to make your networking successful:

1. First, as in everything, set goals for your networking. If you don’t know what you want or need out of networking, how will you ever know if you accomplished it or get others to help you accomplish the goal.

2. Focus on the connection, not the sale. A very few people are going to buy what you’re selling the first time they meet you at a networking event.  That depends 100% on your charisma and luck.  Networking is a relation building process.  You are introducing yourself multiple times and reminding people why they want to be associated with you.

3. I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid.  If you try to overload people with knowledge of every aspect of your business while you are shaking their hand, then one of you is going to end up with sweaty palms.  Keep your pitch to 30 seconds so they can remember one or two aspects of it.  You want them to remember you, not your complete services list.  Deliver a relevant message.

4. Be prepared. Research People’s Goals and Interests: The internet is a powerful tool. Use a search engine to research your new connection’s goals and interests. Search on social media or LinkedIn to discover possibilities.

5. Offer before you ask: Learn to listen and listen to learn.  People are at networking meetings to talk about themselves and their business.  Go to the effort of learning what they do and think about how you can help them achieve their goals.  This is the best way to create long lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial.

6. Before you leave a conversation, introduce the person you met to someone else to help them start the next conversation. This helps you step away, which is an important step in networking.  You can’t work the room if you spend 30 minutes with one person.  That 30 minutes can happen in the last step.

7. Always follow up. You just spent a morning or evening doing networking.  Don’t let the introductions go cold.  Prioritize which contacts could be the most important to your business and start there with a follow-up to get coffee or meet at their business.

Remember, you are building your company through the network effect, which is value-oriented and long lasting. This can only happen through the building of strong relationships with people who are commonly interested in a long-term value payoff.  Once you find these people, successful networking helps them and yourself the most by joining into a group of like-minded individuals who meet regularly to hold each other to high standards of participation and communication in your joint goals.