June 1, 2017
Networking needs to be a part of any founder’s regular routine to build their connections and meet investors and mentors. We spoke with the founder and CEO of OneIMS and Clickx, Solomon Thimothy about his experiences networking strategies and offered advice to others aspiring to improve their own experience.
Get in Front of as Many People as Possible
I used to go to as many national marketing events as time permitted. It’s a big undertaking and you have to fly somewhere, cancel plans and make schedule changes to fit the event into your week. But after many events, year after year, I kept going to them. I’ve made many great life-long relationships. I was able to learn about all the tools and technologies that other companies were using. And I’ve done business with many of those companies since. Make sure to get involved in as many things as possible.
The No. 1 quality of a successful networker is opening up to strangers. It’s obviously difficult for certain introverts to feel comfortable in these situations, but in the networking game, there’s no introverts or extroverts. You have to make great connections and that requires sharing things that are deeper than surface level. The more genuine you feel the connection is, the harder you want to work on retaining it.
Don’t be Overly Aggressive
Find events with other like-minded entrepreneurs or conferences related to your business. These events don’t have to be anything big or expensive, they can be a local meetup or a conference happy hour.
The main thing is to be yourself. Make sure to avoid trying to be overly aggressive as there’s nothing I hate more than being pitched to at an event even before I know what the other person does. I recommend to give more than you’d ever ask someone. Buy them a drink. Offer to meet for lunch. Be thoughtful but don’t ask for referrals the first time you meet someone. They’re not likely going to remember you the next day.
After you meet people, it’s good to make notes about who they are and where you met them. I use Evernote to keep tabs on personal relationships. There’s even a way to scan cards with Evernote. I also keep connections in a CRM tool like Salesforce.
Stay Away From Potential Sensitive Subjects
You never know what the person you’re talking to cares about the most. So it’s important to be cautious of making any comments about topics that could be sensitive. Personally, I want to get to know the other person as much as possible. So give them your uninterrupted attention. That is hard to get at any networking hour.
Read more advice from founders at Tech.Co
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