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You’ve been attending all of the right networking events, polishing your “elevator speech” and religiously working your marketing drip campaign. So, what gives? You feel like you’re beating your head against the brick wall of networking with nothing to show but a stack of business cards and an email automation sequence to die for.

The moment of truth… it’s not just about contact. The key to networking success is conversion.

Check out these tips on how to get your network off the bench and into the game. After all, you can’t score from the sidelines.

  1.     Ask for advice. Start to think of your network as less of a dollar funnel and more of a collaboration. In a fluid, give-and-take type of relationship, there is the potential for growth and experience for everyone involved. Especially when working towards a common goal of business success. Shared benefit include being able to bounce ideas off of one another, pick someone’s brain about a difficult transition you’re approaching, or seek advice on an upcoming decision from a trusted colleague or mentor. The bottom line is, people aren’t going to network with you if they aren’t familiar, confident, and trusting in your ability to follow through and get the job done right. It takes more than just an exchange of business cards to build that level of trust.
  2.     Give. Give. Give. On second thought, don’t ask for advice first! Rather, find a way to give to someone. This requires you to listen, process, and respond accordingly. People will appreciate your thoughtfulness and they’ll remember you when the time comes to reciprocate the favor. They’ll also be much more willing to give their time and energy to you when you need a little help in return.
  3.     Be transparent. Be clear about your motives when engaging in any exchange. No one wants to feel like they were misled or taken advantage of. A good way to avoid this is to be clear with yourself what your goals are for a particular event.  
  4.     Make it personal. While it’s important to keep your social media or digital advertising up and running, don’t forget the importance of personal outreach. Set aside time each week for direct, person to person marketing or networking. This could be as simple as a coffee break, quick phone call, or personal email. Whatever your strategy, build it into your week and be genuine (and transparent) with your intentions.

For more tips on how to engage and convert your network, check out the full article at Entrepreneur.com.

 

**Article originally published 2/10/17**

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