Pillars of Legacy: In-person Networking, Personal Branding & Digital Integration
No doubt, in-person networking is the pillar of every strong business relationship. In B2B, who you know and how you’ve cared for that relationship is crucial. It means having a strong personal brand (with a business brand to back it up). But, today’s environment makes it really difficult to manage that constantly if you don’t integrate your in-person networking with online initiatives.
Why? Everyone is on social media and during the introduction phase of determining whether they want to “do business with Joe at XYZ company,” they are doing their research. They are going to look up your website, LinkedIn Page and see what comes up in a Google Search. If their connections have had an experience with you, they’re going to want to know that, too. In fact, that may be the icing on the cake.
Let’s take a look at in-person networking and what it takes be GREAT at it.
Be Yourself. Before you even consider any in-person networking events to attend or meetings to set — gain confidence and don’t fake it. Make sure you keep it professional, but share your interests, hobbies and talk business. Just make sure it’s in a casual way. The more pressure you put on yourself, the more it’s felt by others. Remember, the core purpose is to build relationships. Let sales be the consequence of great intentions.
Be Prepared. Make sure you have a checklist before networking. Be sure to bring your business card, a V-Card or contact form that’s easy to send to someone’s phone. Double check your battery power and bring some handouts on what you offer. Make sure they are professionally branded, look nice and drive them to your website and anywhere else you want them to find you online.
Meet The Right People. Don’t just join the local chamber and attend those networking events because everyone’s doing it. Make sure you are where YOUR network is. Attend the RIGHT tradeshows, the RIGHT events and set the RIGHT kind of meetings, all at the RIGHT time. Yes it’s true, you never know when an opportunity will present itself, but give yourself the best chance right out of the gate.
Personal Branding is an-ongoing process that continuously evolves and should always be managed. In-person networking depends on how well you deliver and present yourself in the marketplace. Create your own persona — how you want the market to view you and your brand and then follow up by being consistent. This industry will always thrive and create trust based on a strong foundation of personal branding.
Digital Integration is not a sales pitch, it’s a reality. To help boost the effectiveness of in-person networking (whether it’s a meeting or event), you have to make sure you support your organization with digital integration (follow-up emails, relevant content, a great website, a social presence, etc.). You don’t have to start big. Sometimes it’s as small as changing your mindset.
Begin incorporating your efforts today by supporting your salesforce and brand advocates with online resources. Written by Spinstak.