Speaking to The Adviser, Go Networking founder Ron Gibson offers key suggestions on how brokers can ensure their business cards are retained after a networking event.
1. Have a genuine interest in people
Rather than only concentrating on your own goals, Mr Gibson says it’s important to think about the other party in the networking equation.
“It starts with the mindset of wanting to be helpful, to be useful to others and to contribute to their success and their prosperity,” he said.
The worst networkers are the people who spend 100 per cent of the time talking about themselves and their business, Mr Gibson said.
To show you’re genuinely interested, he recommends following the 80/20 rule. That is, spend 80 per cent of the time listening and 20 per cent of the time talking.
Ask key questions such as, “What’s the biggest thing you’re working on at the moment?” and “What is your reason for being here today?”
This will ensure brokers obtain a firm understanding of what the other person is after and how brokers can help add value to their business.
2. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
According to Mr Gibson, events present the perfect opportunity to proactively seek new connections and build a rapport with those who may be useful to brokers’ businesses.
The best way for brokers to ensure they are prioritising their allocated networking time efficiently is to do some research before attending the event. Research the venue, the speakers, the topics on the agenda and above all, have at least a rough idea on who will be attending to decide beforehand who to connect with.
3. Understand it’s a marathon, not a sprint
Like any art form, successful networking takes time.
“It takes between six to nine conversations before the relationships are built to the point where the parties trust each other enough to consider giving business or referrals,” Mr Gibson said.
A good networker will not ask for anything during the initial meeting. Instead, they will be patient and consistent in developing their relationships over time before doing so.
Mr Gibson added that brokers need to have a consistent system for maintaining personal contact with their top networking prospects.
“That requires a personal touch every month or six weeks… giving them ideas that can improve their circumstances.”
[Related: How to be a better networker]