As you may know, Stefan Thomas is one of our Keynote speakers for TCMA 2015. You can head here to visit his speaker profile and tap into some additional content, including some video snippets of Stefan presenting at previous conferences.
Stefan is the author of Business Networking for Dummies and a true advocate of business networking.
He is the Director of No Red Braces, which is his own marketing consultancy business.
We tapped into Stef’s blog and pulled out ten of the best lessons he has shared on business networking. Not only to help you develop your own knowledge and skills, but to also introduce you to Stef’s content.
In truth, I could have written 20! I love the style of his articles; typically short and very much focussed on one learning point, which makes them easy to read and understand.
Ten ways to master business networking
One – When will networking start to work for me?
In this article Stefan provides an answer to the most common question he gets asked about business networking.
There’s no simple answer to this questions, but Stefan has a great theory to help you to understand that networking is more about building relationships than sales.
As soon as you change your objective you will change your results.
Click here to find out more about Stef’s theory for successful business networking
Two – 5 ways to relax your nerves at business networking
Everyone gets nervous at business networking events, especially when starting out.
In this article Stefan shares 5 ways to overcome your nerves:
- Take a buddy to your first networking event
- Understand that lots of other people are also nervous
- Know that you will have to introduce yourself, and practice it
- Your introduction is only one small part of the whole event
- You are in a safe environment of supportive people
Click here to read more on Stef’s blog
Three – 9 tips for making the most of business and trade shows
Trade shows are a very popular way to meet new people, and in this article Stef shares his top tips on how to prepare and get the most from them.
- Take lots of business cards with you
- Take a notebook
- Book into seminars and workshops
- Get involved in the speed networking sessions
- Take notes
- Take advantage of social media opportunities
- DON’T try to sell stuff to exhibitors
- DON’T try to do everything at the show
- If you say you’re going to follow up – do so
Click here to read Stef’s guest blog on the Business Start Up blog
Four – 3 top tips for networking online and in real life
In this article Stefan takes us through some of the key benefits of fusing your digital efforts with more traditional networking events.
- Be the same person – People want a relationship with you, so don’t feel you have to have a different persona online to who you are in real life.
- Networking is about building your network when you don’t need it so it is there when you do
- When you do have something to sell – shout about it – Never ever be afraid to make some noise when you do have something to offer.
Click here to read Stef’s guest blog on the Regus Connect blog
Five – Following up & why you have to move on to their turf
In this article Stef goes into detail about why most people get business networking wrong. In short, they talk about themselves too much and forget about what’s important to other people.
The best way to really make the most of networking is to be more interested in other people.
I love this quote from his article “Instead of immediately telling them why they should buy from you now, move into their space and keep in touch on their terms.”
There really is value in forgetting about yourself and your business and getting more involved in what’s important for other people.
Stef follows up this topic with 6 Spectacular Ways to Move onto Their Turf Using Social Media. Here’s a sneak peek:
- Find and follow
- Take a look at what they’re talking about
- Be useful
- Ask questions
- Seek out mutual ground
- Understand the demands of their day
Click here to read more about the importance of moving on to other peoples turf
Six – 5 effective ways to give to gain
“…when you recommend your doctor or local supermarket, do you expect them to give you a new client in return?”
Do you give to get, or do you simply give because you see the value in making a great introduction?
Do you think to give is to gain and it should always be like for like? Or do you prefer to offer tonnes of value, knowing that you’ll gain in the long term?
In this article Stef shares 5 effective ways you can truly give to gain.
Seven – Never underestimate the people in the room
“Too many people make the mistake at an event of trying to work out the value in people before they get to know them, basing their opinion on job title, or perceived ‘status’.”
In this short article Stefan hits home a very important message about business networking. You never know who may be able to open up a big opportunity for you, so don’t judge people by their business type, job title or status.
Click here to read more about why most people have a flawed logic in business networking.
Eight – How to avoid presumption and get selected!
“I think it’s very easy to be ‘in conclusion’ and to limit our potential when speaking with people. But it’s just as easy to be open to opportunities.”
In this article Stefan shares two very interesting stories to illustrate how presumption is the death of sales, and follows up with 3 tips on how to avoid presumption. Here’s a sneak peek:
- Question everything – Statements are hugely limiting. Questions invite possibility.
- Forget everything you know – You may think you’ve met ‘this sort’ before, but let that knowledge influence your actions after you’ve had an open conversation with them.
- Recognise the value in everyone you meet – They may not be your golden ticket but they might be connected to your golden ticket.
Click here to find out more on how to avoid presumption.
Nine – You can’t squeeze an onion online
In this article Stefan approaches a very important topic of conversation: does the growth and popularity of online networking and social media mean that there is no need for real life networking in future?
“Our clients need to have seen the whites of our eyes and got to know us a little bit before they are ready to do business.”
I fundamentally agree with Stefan on this as I too believe that face-to-face networking is vitally important in building realtionships.
Click here to read more about Stef’s explanation and answer to this big question.
Ten – 4 books that every networker must read
After reading all of Stef’s blog articles you may be looking for more. In this article Stef provides a short introduction to four of his own highly recommended books to help you develop your business networking skills and knowledge.
Click here for Stef’s recommendations.
- What challenges do you have with business networking?
- What’s your biggest tip for business networking?
Let me know by joining the conversation in the comments section below.
Don’t forget to be awesome!