Here are five tips for effective networking:

  • Network to “connect!” Make a commitment to look for networking opportunities, then attend and connect. Try to meet as many people as you can and avoid getting trapped in extended conversations. Follow up after the event if you wish to talk at length with someone you’ve met.
  • Connect with your target buyers. Know exactly who your target buyers are and where you can find them. If you sell maternity clothes, don’t network at a lumberjack convention. Find out where your target buyers network and what meetings and annual conferences they attend, then be there.
  • Perfect your “elevator speech.” Create a brief introduction; no one cares what instrument you played in the third-grade band. Engage people in a way that has them asking for more information. We’ll talk more about how to create the perfect elevator speech in a future column.
  • Connect to help others first. Remember that when we get to know others and share our knowledge, connections and talents with them, they generally want to help us as well. And the degree to which they want to help us will be much greater.
  • Stay connected. Carry lots of business cards, give them out and ask for one from everyone you meet. Follow up with an e-mail and stay in touch. Send e-cards, greeting cards or create a newsletter. If you see an article that might interest your connections, e-mail it to them.

Dan Norman is a sales performance expert, a professional speaker, a columnist and the author of “Top Ten Selling – The Lumberjack Chronicles.” Visit www.toptenselling.com or call 407-566-9741.