4 Tips to Networking Like a Champ

by | Jun 15, 2016

By Michael Zimmerlich

Networking is by far one of the most effective methods for gaining new business. Yet most of us are pretty terrible at it. And the ones that honed in on this skill can always improve.

Here are four tips to use while networking and what to do after:

1. Have both a 10-second and 30-second elevator pitch

If I were to ask “what do you do?” right now, what would your answer be? You want to have your pitch nailed down that gets to the point quickly.

Why two different versions? Cause normally you will be in two situations, first is the ‘passing by’ introduction. This happens when someone is in a hurry or being distracted and you literally have about 10 seconds to get across who you are and what you do to hopefully grab their fleeting attention.

Example: “My name is Mike Zimmerlich and I’m a crowdfunding advisor that assists people in developing a campaign to raise funds for their project or business”.

The 30-second version is essentially an extension of the 10-second version. This is useful if you’re having a conversation with someone or a group. You still want to get to the point but you have more time to get across your message. What I say next really depends upon the situation and what I want people to specifically remember.

Example: “My name is Mike Zimmerlich and I’m a crowdfunding advisor that assists people develop a campaign to raise funds for their project or business. To date, I’ve helped successfully raise over $120,000 from multiple campaigns. If you are looking to raise money or know someone who would be interested, keep me in mind.”

2. Bring business cards and ask for theirs

This one might seem obvious but it’s important to always have business cards with you when you go to a networking event. Scratch that, ANYWHERE you go you should have business cards with you. There will always be that time you bump into someone you want to make sure you keep in touch with.

This brings up an interesting point, more important than having your own business cards is making sure that you take theirs. It’s easy for them to forget you and not follow up. Why should they, you are the one interested in connecting with them. So make sure you ask them if they have a business card so you can be proactive afterward.

3. Find something in common

Some people are natural at striking up a conversation with a stranger or mastered the skill that is ‘small talk.’ However for many, including myself, are neither and have a difficult time grabbing someone’s attention that I don’t know. One tactic that I use is to try to find something that both people are interested in.

Discover something the other person is passionate or excited about like the Arizona Diamondbacks, Star Wars, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Fantasy Football. Everyone has a passion and they will get excited enough to drop their defenses making it a lot easier to talk business.

4. Immediately follow-up

Anyone you meet at a networking event may become beneficial today, tomorrow, or two years from now. However there’s no way you can remember everyone’s name, how you met, or where you met them. Many will write down information on the back of their business card, however this isn’t always convenient as some business cards are extremely difficult to write on and you’re not always in possession of a pen.

To solve this when you get home, immediately send an email to those you’ve collected business cards from, especially from people you want to make sure remember you. In the email, mention the event and if there are any specifics of how you met, such as we were introduced by so-and-so or we bumped into each other at the appetizers, as well as any potential business that would be beneficial to both people.

This way, the e-mail is a reminder to BOTH people exactly where you met and how you can help each other. You can always search through your emails, so if you need that person in the future you can bring up that original message, remember the circumstances and how they could help you, and then reply back from that same message so they are reminded as well. As a bonus sending a message right away makes a great impression on how you communicate!

Happy hunting!

Want to learn more? I am hosting a free Networking Workshop! Event is Monday, June 20, 630pm-830pm at CO+HOOTS. Get your free ticket(s) HERE.

Longtime CO+HOOTS member Michael Zimmerlich is the President of 80/20 Records, an independent record label that offers 80% royalties to artists.

Michael is also a crowdfunding advisor and successfully raised over $120,000 assisting several campaigns. This includes funding anything from music albums to co-working spaces.

You can find Michael on social media @8020records.