Let me introduce myself.  My name is Susie Ibbotson.  What do I do?  I am a marketer who discovered the key to marketing & sales is in the power of your network.  It’s no coincidence, that some of the most successful business people today have a strong network of like-mind professionals.   Your network is the foundation to grow your career, build brand and drive sales.  This blog is part 1 in a series of blogs to help you become the ultimate networker.  Why?  Quoting one of my favorite authors, “Success in any field, but especially in business is about working with people, not against them.” ― Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

  1. Spend time on your LinkedIn profile prior to attending a conference.  After you meet people, they WILL check out your profile to see how they can help you or how you can help them.
  2. Ask questions. Don’t wait for someone to approach you.  Get out of your comfort zone and walk up to someone and start a conversation.  Ask questions about the conference and be a good listener!
  3. Don’t sell. Networking is not about selling, but about building face to face connections with people. If you’re a good networker you will land sales.
  4. Invite and include everyone in the conversation. Make people feel at ease to join the conversation and don’t be afraid to join in yourself.  The best networkers are those who can draw in many people into conservation and be able to facilitate a good discussion.
  5. Say “hello” to the person beside you.  You never know who you will meet, unless you say hello to the person you are sitting beside.  And face to face connections are more valuable then any you make through LinkedIn!
I will never forget the first conference I attended.  It was in Las Vegas and between the lights and glitz of the whole affair, I was completely overwhelmed, until my mentor at the time said, relax and meet some new people.  I am still connected with those people 15 years later, and can credit some of my success to the relationships I built at that conference.
 
Until next time,
 
Susie Ibbotson, VP of Marketing & Alliances, Navantis