We usually collect business contacts during conferences or in networking groups. However, many of us have a problem when it comes to making contact to build business networks with these people. The main reason is we take too long because we either do not know how to start the conversation and we keep long spells of time before we talk to these people.
Special thanks to Perpetua Machua’s blog, PerpetuaMachuaReborn which has shared enlightenment on how to engage networks and there is a lot to learn. Miss. Machua is a learner, reader, blogger, and a change advocate. We have added extra tips on how to engage your contacts and build business networks.
How To Engage Your Contacts and Build Business Networks
1.Remember and Address them by their name
Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ that an individual’s name is the most beautiful sound in any language. This book is one of the most influential books in business and has a lot of networking tips to offer. When you call your contact later, address your contact by their name as you send greetings.
2. Initiate conversation immediately you get a new contact
One of the main challenges of engaging and building business networks is taking too long to make conversation. Start immediately after you meet. It could be the next day or within the same week. An easy way to start your conversation is by going over what you had previously discussed.
3. Comment on their social media
Have they posted something that you relate to? Drop a comment on their post. PerpetuaMachuaReborn advises you to send some congratulations on a promotion or any other event. You could also air your opinion on a certain issue, for example, business. The possibilities of conversation can start almost anywhere in this case.
4. Make contact during public holidays
Some may find this weird but it is highly effective. Send out a warm message to the contact. For example, Merry Christmas Mr. X, I want to wish you and your family happy festivities! The contact will quickly respond to your greetings and a conversation can proceed from there.
5. Focus on how you can help
A business network is built around the exchange of ideas, support and information. The network needs to be mutually beneficial to you and your contact. Thus, it important to focus on how you can help your contacts. You can identify how you can help by simply listening. Your contacts will be more willing to offer their help in such a situation.
6. Try face to face meetings if possible
I agree, technology has made communication easier with the help of tools like video calls, instant texts, voice messages and more. However, are these modes of communication as effective as face to face meetings? Not quite. Face to face meetings facilitate clearer communication. You will be able to easily read the body language and facial expressions. These are crucial to help you determine the reaction of the other party’s reaction to an idea.
However, you should not disregard how platforms like LinkedIn can be useful in your network.
Such a platform also has numerous advantages such as providing the latest news in your industry.
7. Follow up on commitments and promises
As you establish new contacts, take note of any commitments and promises. You should start follow up immediately you go your separate ways. Follow-ups will helps your business network to produce positive results and to build a good reputation, trust, and relationships.
If you do not feel like making the follow-up, then it means you are making the wrong connections or using the wrong networking groups.
You will get to explore the potential of your business networks if you engage the contacts you collect in conferences, professional meetups, or in networking groups. The main challenge in networking is people may not know where to start or they fail to engage their networks immediately.
Ensure you use both online tips like use of social media, and offline tips such as face to face meetings to engage your business networks. What other strategies do you use to engage your contacts to build your business networks?