21 pro tips to get amazing results from business networking  

Business networking is a valuable and lucrative activity - for those who have mastered it. Use these pro tips from the ONLE members to become an elite business networker.

Business networking is more than the meeting

Business networking is more than the meeting

Make a good impression
YOU are your business card so how you present yourself is paramount. First impressions count.
Victoria Cumberlege, Eternal Blooms

It’s true - people do buy people and people will remember their first encounter with you. If you try and sell to me before we get to know each other - I’m not listening. And a refill of coffee is always welcome if you meet me!
Jenny Todd, Silk Bow Bookkeeping

Be genuine. People are perceptive and can see through you.
Suzy Dierckx, Sociable Suzy

Be friendly and warm, show interest in what others have to say and not just lip service. It is easy to identify someone that is only interested in themselves - you can spot them a mile off.
Mike Abbott, business coach

People will forget what you say, but will always remember how you made them feel, so when talking to someone do not look around seeing if there is anyone you'd rather talk to. Stay focused on them.
Kate Bickford, The Home Business Mentor

Talk to everyone with a smile and listen to what they have to say, and do not pitch the immediate sale.
Drew Patel, sales performance specialist

To be successful at networking, you need to help others first

To be successful at networking, you need to help others first

Build relationships which last
“Go to each event with an open mind to meet new people and create possible connections for you and your clients.
Helen Clements, Troy Accounting

“Attend regularly so that you get to build relationships with your fellow networkers and get a better understanding of what they do and what they can offer.”
Kate Self, Travel Counsellors 

"Be patient. Relationships aren’t built in a couple of meetings but over time."
Steve Carter, SC Courier Services

"People buy people. Not their business."
Pam Bates, Silk Bow Events

Help others
"Walk into every meeting thinking how you can help those present. Use your contacts to help others and the rewards will come back many times over."
Guy Hanson, Winchester Resident Magazine 

“It takes a while as a new business to get into the mindset of 'offer help rather than look for a sale' so newbies sometimes find that networking doesn't bring them what they're looking for. So start with a 'how can I help or advise' attitude and that will reap rewards. And be prepared that relationships take time to build. Very rarely does a connection happen at a first meeting.
Sarah Lowe, Sarah Lowe Credit Management

“If everyone networking had the mindset of trying to help another member in the group then it would be reciprocated many times over in return. And always offer a coffee if you see an empty cup!”
Gary Ashley, Chef Gary

Get to know people and don't assume who can help you

Get to know people and don't assume who can help you

“Adopt a 'being of service' mindset and continue to use it online as well as in person. Is someone asking about something you know about? Then help them out. This helps show your expertise, but even if it's not your field of work and you have value to give, give it.”
Cat Archer Underwood, The Brandologist 

Make sure you connect with everyone you meet in person via social channels. It's so hard to grow your business online, all the extra likes and follows help each other massively. Take time after each meeting to do this and you will see a huge difference in your own accounts.
Kelly West, Winchester Bloggers

Block out time after each meeting to action follow-ups. Find/follow visitor and member social accounts, connect on LinkedIn, and follow up on any actions pledged at the meeting, e.g. if you’ve discussed arranging a one-to-one meeting, book it in.
James West, Clean Slate Websites 

One-to-one meetings are critical because you get to know the real person, their visions, their knowledge, their network.  You have to build trust in business and you only do this by getting to know someone properly. And you never know who they might know that could help you.
Karen Brooks, Pellings Business Solutions

Once you know more about the people you meet, you can think about how to help them more effectively.  If you become known as a person who helps other businesses, they are likely to help you in return. Simple psychology but people often forget this when networking.
Rachel Denham, Best Western Chilworth Manor Hotel 

Have fun
Enjoy the people you are networking with. Create a business that you can ‘gossip’ about. Have fun. It’s the only way.
Naomi Light, Gumptious Coaching

Smile. Especially to new people entering the room. They are probably just as nervous to be there as you have/are/maybe. It’s amazing how a smile can make someone feel welcomed.
Claudia Beard, Mint Signs

Be professional, be authentic
To be referred you need to be known. That means turning up, being noticed and being part of the event; then liked, so don’t bring your woes, your prejudices or your complaints to a meeting. Instead, bring listening skills, questioning and your connections, to recommend where you can. Lastly, you must be trusted - that you know your stuff; that you’re honest; that you set high standards for yourself; and that you’ll deliver.
Jim Culverwell, Culverwell Consulting

For more tips on being an effective business networker, read Jim's blog: Are you are networking Hunter or Farmer?