The Art of Networking: Building Professional Relationships That Last

Climbing the business ladder is the dream of many people around the world, however it isn’t easy. It takes many years of hard work, dedication, patience while keeping in mind that at the end it all might not work out as you want.

You must do so many things to make it big in whatever industry you’re a part of, whether starting a crypto gambling business or whole foods company. You must ensure you have a unique selling point, an upper hand against your competition, and a good selection of contacts in your sector.

But how do you get these contacts? That’s where networking comes in. It is the process of talking to successful business owners and professionals in your industry with the potential of receiving a job opportunity or receiving invaluable insights. It is always good to have a solid professional network that you can turn to when you need it, so mastering the art of networking is essential.

Here are some of the best ways you can network and develop strong professional relationships:

Do not try and network with everyone

When you go to a networking event for the first time, it may seem tempting to hand out your business card to everyone in your industry. However, this isn’t a good use of your time, and you may not actually form quality connections. Professionals see people who choose quantity over quality at networking events as unattractive and will quickly throw your card away.

The best thing to do is target people who will offer your business and career the most value and dedicate your time to getting to know them.

Give all your attention to who you’re talking to

A rookie move at networking events is people don’t pay enough attention to the professional they’re talking to. They are too busy scanning the room looking for their next target or someone ‘better’. If you do this, you won’t get anywhere, and you’ll develop a bad reputation. You need to focus on them and only on them. Don’t ask about anyone else in their business, and show genuine interest in what they tell you.

Find common ground

The business world is cutthroat, and a professional often won’t want to help you without expecting anything in return. Once you’ve sparked a decent conversation with someone, you want to discuss the different ways you can help each other. Always have a go-to offering available, or research beforehand to see what someone might want from you. It can be anything small such as your skillset in a job opening, or something bigger, like an investment in their business.

Talk about your success stories

While you don’t want to talk about yourself the whole time, when you do have time to speak, you want to focus on success stories. This will make you seem impressive and build a case for the person you’re networking with to offer you some help. For example, if you started your own igaming company and acquired two online casinos in the first year, you want to discuss that and the different strategies used.

Keep it short and sweet, and don’t go into too much detail. It is also a good idea to talk about times when it looked like things wouldn’t work out, but then you came out better on the other end.

Utilize social media

Networking doesn’t always have to happen in person at special events. In today’s digital age, you can now meet other professionals in your industry through social media platforms. The most effective one is LinkedIn, where you can make ‘connections’ with people. Once they accept your connection request, you can start a conversation and use the same techniques as if you were talking to them in person. Other platforms that you can take advantage of for networking include Google Plus and Twitter.

Never ask for a job

We’ve spoken about how you should discuss how you and another professional can offer each other value when networking, but this should never be in the form of directly asking for a job. That isn’t the main goal of networking. Instead, you want to build rapport with other people in your industry and develop a strong relationship. Unless they’ve made it clear they have a job opening and are interested in you, you should avoid this topic at all costs.

Find a way to follow up

After you’ve exchanged business cards and information, you want to ensure you’ll be hearing from your new contact again. Therefore, you need to find a way to get in touch or follow up with them. For example, if you’ve recently read an interesting article about your industry or you’ve found a quality vendor they may want to use, say you’ll send them the details later. You may need to have a few of these things lined up before you go networking, but it will definitely be worthwhile in the future.