Networking skills are a must in almost any business or activity, whether you are in search of a job or promoting your product/service. When it comes to tech entrepreneurs, or “techtrepreneurs” networking is as important to your work as your morning coffee.
The networking tips in this article are for modern tech dudes, as stated in the title, due to two reasons: 1) Old networking mentalities and approaches do not apply today, 2) Technological advances have changed the entire practice of networking.
Networking is a form of art, in the sense that you cannot expect great results if you are too mechanical in your approach. Your mental state should be natural and your nerves must be calm, rather than having a tense and aggressive attitude. When it comes to networking, the purpose is to get people to know the real you, not your sales personality. Believe me, nobody enjoys talking to a salesperson.
That said, I’m sure that you understand that being a successful entrepreneur, not just those in tech, depends on how well you communicate your expertise and reputation to others. These networking tips give tech entrepreneurs the chance to show expand their network and grow their clientele.
Unfortunately, personal networking is not as popular among professionals as it used to be, especially after the emergence of social media, due to several reasons: they don’t commit to networking, they are afraid to get out of their comfort zone, and they are discouraged way too easily when networking event doesn’t go as planned. This is actually great news for you, due to the simple fact that there is less competition at networking events.
Here are 7 Networking Tips for Tech Entrepreneurs
Don’t confuse networking with sales
It is a common misconception that the purpose of networking events is to convert someone into a client every time. You must drop the “sales” state of mind and adopt the mindset that you are only attending these events to make new friends. Not only does this take an enormous amount of pressure off your shoulders, but it makes the entire experience enjoyable. The purpose of networking is to grow your network by meeting and befriending more people. Eventually, your efforts will bring you more clients, either through referrals or directly from your network.
Your presence must be bold and loud
Your image speaks more than your words. Like I mentioned before, everybody wants their attorney to be a winner. You must dress to convey the message that you are the winner they’ve been searching for their entire lives! First, make sure to cover the basics – professional business attire, proper grooming, good hygiene, and such. To achieve this, something in your attire must flash and set you apart from everyone else. Maybe a nice watch, or perhaps an association ring on your index finger. You get the point…
Take the stage as soon as you get there
Start talking to people immediately after entering the networking event. When you walk into a room full of other professionals and potential clients, you want to have a confident and powerful presence. By making friendly conversation with people immediately after walking into the room, you are sending the signal to others that you are confident and positive, which ultimately gives off the winner vibe. Also, it shows everyone that you are approachable. Remember, good attorneys are terrific talkers, but great attorneys are great charmers.
Introduce people to each other
In a nutshell, you have to be a matchmaker. When networking, you must have an abundance mentality and should try to give more than you receive at events. This is a perfect way to establish new friends. If you think that John would be a great connection for Mark, then take that step and introduce them to each other. They will truly appreciate the fact that you went out of your way to improve their connections, and if they remain in each other’s network, you will always be remembered. And as a tech entrepreneur, your aim should be to have people remember you!
Prepare a good elevator pitch
Even though you’re not selling your service, networking is selling yourself [in a legal and wholesome way :)]. You should prepare a 10-30 second elevator pitch to educate people on exactly what you do, but make sure that you don’t blabber on and on. Instead, put a hook at the end of your elevator pitch to have people ask to hear more. For example, you could make a reference to something that you did for your customer, perhaps something strange or exciting, without actually telling the story. This will leave people curious and wanting to hear what happened.
Build a personal connection
Don’t forget that networking isn’t just the exchange of business cards. You should get to know the people that you meet on a personal level. Ask insightful questions to receive better answers. Get their opinion on important matters, both in business and tech, but stay away from controversial topics. Most importantly, pay attention to what they say! Eventually, your connection could evolve to a level where you can ask for their advice on something, either a business matter or a personal one, which is probably one of the best ways to build trust between two people.
Why and How to follow up
What good is networking if you’re not going to talk to the people you meet ever again? You have to understand that there is a chance that people will not remember you after the event, not because you weren’t interesting, but because they probably met 50 others just like you! In order to be remembered after the event, you must make it a priority to follow up with your connections. Here are some ways you could follow up:
- Within 24 hours after the networking event, connect with your new friend on a social media platform, preferably LinkedIn, and tell them that you enjoyed his/her company and your conversation. Maybe you can touch on something you discussed at the event, which might spark a second conversation.
- Perhaps once every couple of months, you can email your new contact, or message them on LinkedIn, about something you read that you thought they might find it very interesting. Or you can simply ask them how they are doing.
- Message them on major holidays, such as Thanksgiving, and wish them a wonderful time.
- Bottom-line, just keep in touch.
Entrepreneurs should not have a difficult time when it comes to networking because their livelihood depends on it. Follow these 7 networking tips for modern tech entrepreneurs, and you’ll notice that your career will reach greater heights!