Networking can be one of the most effective AEC business development strategies, though it takes some effort and patience, and (as I’ve reported before), you need to go into the networking process with a “give” rather than “expectation” attitude. You can see my earlier reports/recommendations for Tim Klabunde’s slim book Network Like and Introvert and ideas on how to effectively “work the room”.
These additional tips from Lindsey Young (a marketing consultant with nu marketing in Haysville, KS) previously published in the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Marketer magazine add some concepts to the repertoire.
- Focus on the other person and listen more than you talk;
- Be genuine in your discussion and conversation;
- Networking is not about selling per se — but it may result in a sale;
- Everyone in a firm is responsible for bringing in business;
- Say the person’s name three times in your head and you’re more likely to remember it;
- Take business cards everywhere you go;
- Follow up on any received request; and
- Minimize time with co-workers at trade events; always focus on the customer.
I think the return on investment for learning effective networking techniques is among the highest in AEC business development. Learn how to network effectively, and you’ll ultimately improve your lead generation and conversion far more effectively than any cold marketing methodologies.