Networking can be extremely painful, especially if done wrong. I mean who REALLY looks forward to spending 4 hours in a room with a bunch of random strangers; reminds me of MTV’s The Real World. In the world of sales (yes I consider recruiting sales) networking is a necessary evil considering it’s not about what you know but WHO you know. Through the years of navigating the business social waters I have met referral partners, clients and even advisors. But how do you keep networking interesting?
I like to break down networking into 3 categories: Social media, business events and social scenes. Only utilizing one category is like putting all of your eggs in one basket. The more people you meet widens your network of advice; adding to your resources. Here are a few tips that have helped me broaden my network and boost our business.
LinkedIn– LinkedIn can be a great networking tool for obvious reasons. I always answer every message that someone sends me on LinkedIn. You never want to burn a bridge.
Shapr– This app I stumbled upon about a year ago. It has the same swipe features of modern dating apps but it connects you with the people you WANT to be connected to. I have met knowledgeable business advisors, referral partners and just like-minded business people. I would highly recommend downloading this app for new business owners and start-ups.
Slack– This app connects you to a network/thread. I am currently a part of the PhillyStartUp slack thread. This has connected my business partner and I to a few networking groups like Start-up Sales Ladies.
Nextdoor– Surprisingly enough, your neighbors can help! I downloaded this app when I moved and it connects neighbors by location. There are community boards that you can post on which have led me to a few leads.
Networking Events– I try to mix these up so I don’t see the same people every month. There are events all over the place so grab your business cards and flyers and go to town. Always do your follow-ups. This goes hand in hand with LinkedIn messages.
Local Business Associations– Getting involved in local associations I believe is the best networking route. Not only does it connect you to your target market, it always leads to even more connections in the community.
Sometimes you can go out for business and pleasure. These events are mostly for having a good time after work but one should always have their networking cap on. City wide happy hours like Center City Sips can be a fun way to break up the work week but also meet a few new people.
Networking doesn’t have to be daunting. Utilizing different platforms help you hit different targets and also break up the monotony. So- swipe, message, shake hands and cheers all in the name of helping the business.
Written by Kristin DeBias