Networking and forming connections are practices that are vital to the success of a business. You can organically develop leads with a face-to-face chat, you can build relationships in the industry and collaborate, you can even find your next employee. But the owner of a business shouldn’t be doing all the marketing. Not only will you increase your reach by getting the team involved. You’ll also be empowering them, giving them confidence and ingraining them deeper as part of the team. So, how do you make sure they do you proud out there?
Do your research
There’s no doubt that organic friendships forming out there can be some of the strongest you’ll make in your long career of networking. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from doing plenty of research with the team before they head out. If you’re heading to a networking event or trade show, see who else is attending. See if you can’t think about specific topics to broach if you contact them and, if you want something from them, tailor your offer. It’s a good idea to see if any of your competitors are out there trying to do the same thing. Position yourself beside them, not against them, by seeing if their pre-event marketing is gearing them in a specific direction and choose a different angle.
Good intel can make conversations seamless, getting rid of any awkward silence or uninformed attempts. But the context of a conversation is as important as the content. In networking, the context is the ‘overall package’ of the person. If you’re not taking the time to teach employees about how to talk, the best way to dress to their environment, and even body language, they could be sabotaging themselves. Networking events are a good excuse to plaster branded name badges on them, too. Not only does it show that they’re a professional representing a business and thus more worth talking to in certain situations. It also gives exposure to the brand, which is always a good thing.
Get them engaged
You can get them well-informed and well-presented, but if they don’t much care about the subjects they’re talking about, they won’t be making any lasting impressions. Choosing the employees that are best fit to be ambassadors to the brand is crucial. Otherwise, you need to think about how you get them engaged. Do they have any incentives out there to get them performing better? Have you talked to them about networking before, about how it can help them? Have you asked for their feedback and ideas on how to better represent the business? Little touches like that can get your team on board, more willing to get out there, and a lot more engaging when they’re actually talking to people.
Networking builds a stronger team and a stronger business. Get your employees in ship shape and ready to shake some hands. You’ll have a workforce more engaged in what they do as well as a broader range of contacts to spot opportunities from.