Networking is a major component of fostering a client-focused mindset. How do you network effectively?

 

What does it mean to have a client-focused mindset? For any person in contact with customers and clients, it’s an exercise in putting yourself in their shoes. What are their needs? What’s keeping them up at night? How can you meet their needs in a personal, compelling way?

This last part of the series will focus on networking. As social selling and other online networking tools become more prevalent, organizations need to combine them with tried-and-true face-to-face styles to keep their clients connected.

We’ll focus on this area in two parts: Best practices for traditional, face-to-face networking, and recent advancements in online networking/social selling.

Key points in traditional, in-person networking

Key points in traditional, in-person networking

Practice

Rationale

Demonstrate empathy.

Put yourself in the other person's shoes and acknowledge their feelings. This shows you are not only listening but processing the emotions behind their experience.

Share a bit of yourself.

Tell a bit about yourself, your experience and provide perspective through self-disclosure/reciprocity. 

 

You can deepen that empathy by sharing something about yourself. Reciprocating the disclosure of something personal (not confidential) can help further your relationship with your contact.

Create a "give and take" relationship.

Foster a back-and-forth style without it feeling like an integration.

 

In your efforts to keep the attention on the other person, you may risk the "interrogation effect" if you just pepper your contact with questions and not allow for them to be curious about you. Make sure you find time to answer their questions, too.

Practice

Rationale

Demonstrate empathy.

Put yourself in the other person's shoes and acknowledge their feelings. This shows you are not only listening but processing the emotions behind their experience.

Share a bit of yourself.

Tell a bit about yourself, your experience and provide perspective through self-disclosure/reciprocity. 

 

You can deepen that empathy by sharing something about yourself. Reciprocating the disclosure of something personal (not confidential) can help further your relationship with your contact.

Create a "give and take" relationship.

Foster a back-and-forth style without it feeling like an integration.

 

In your efforts to keep the attention on the other person, you may risk the "interrogation effect" if you just pepper your contact with questions and not allow for them to be curious about you. Make sure you find time to answer their questions, too.

Key points in online networking

Key points in traditional, in-person networking

Practice

Rationale

Share insights and provide value.

Share an insight from a recent news article or industry publication.

 

Reading allows you to shore up on topics that can help you not only feed a conversation if it's stalling, but also change subjects if you enter uncomfortable territory.

 

Their reactions to your insights can also be opportunities to learn more about the person, opening doors into their thinking to which you might otherwise not have been privy.

Build a complete online presence.

Own your personal brand online. Build a complete LinkedIn profile, connect with customers and prospects, and provide content that addresses key industry concerns.

 

Partially-complete profiles, or profiles missing key elements (like cover photos) reduce credibility more than not having any presence at all.

Practice

Rationale

Share insights and provide value.

Share an insight from a recent news article or industry publication.

 

Reading allows you to shore up on topics that can help you not only feed a conversation if it's stalling, but also change subjects if you enter uncomfortable territory.

 

Their reactions to your insights can also be opportunities to learn more about the person, opening doors into their thinking to which you might otherwise not have been privy.

Build a complete online presence.

Own your personal brand online. Build a complete LinkedIn profile, connect with customers and prospects, and provide content that addresses key industry concerns.

 

Partially-complete profiles, or profiles missing key elements (like cover photos) reduce credibility more than not having any presence at all.

Take a look at our previous articles for more insights on meeting client expectations and adapting to differing personality styles.

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