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Networking for success in 2023

Networking for success in 2023

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The event season is now in full flow, and it’s shaping up to be a defining one. Physical events have returned in force, as we embrace the advantages of attending in person.

Networking continues to be the cornerstone of successful marketing and sales, especially within the affiliate sector, and there are several aspects to effective networking that are integral.

With this in mind, we invited Boris Pashnev, Head of Affiliates at proven specialists, Alpha Affiliates, to provide the professional’s viewpoint…

A landscape redefined

Covid-19 prompted a switch to online interaction, redefining networking for several years. Of course, there are benefits to networking behind a screen. The ability to network from anywhere and with anyone around the world, reduces costs and offers greater accessibility. However, online networking can never replace the impact that comes from face-to-face interaction.

Most of us now embrace hybrid working, re-establishing the frequency of in-person interactions. So how do you get the best out of face-to-face networking?

It all starts with Why?

When attending any event, the first question to ask is why you are attending and consider how attending this event fits into your broader sales and growth objectives.

Working in affiliate marketing, I research each event, identifying the people I wish to meet and the objectives I want to achieve. This typically revolves around expanding my partnership network in sectors and countries where I see significant opportunities.

The following is a list of suggested objectives:

  • To expand your professional circle, connect with at least three individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • To generate leads, identify potential clients or collaborators to generate future business opportunities with.
  • To support your professional development, seek out mentors or advisors to share insights and provide food for thought.

Play to your strengths

Play to your own strengths and understand the strengths of others. There is a common misconception that only extroverts can effectively network. In my experience, this is not the case. Introverts are typically more selective in what they say, are good listeners and can ask thoughtful questions at the right moments.

In comparison, extroverts are confident and engaging talkers who are charismatic and find it easier to speak on a host of different topics.

The point is that self-awareness is key. Understand what type of person you are and play to your own strengths, and if you see yourself as an introvert, don’t see this as a disadvantage.

Due your due diligence

As well as listening actively, introverts thrive when they have time to prepare. So, do your due diligence and come prepared with authentic conversation starters and questions. I also recommend interacting with smaller groups, or one-to-one, as this is where introverts can truly shine.

If you are an extrovert, be conscious not to dominate conversations, especially with those who are more reserved. Ask them questions and give them time to respond. Extroverts often break the ice and initiate conversations. however, taking a step back can be very valuable.

Undertaking this type of profiling at the beginning of a conversation helps lead to a more natural and constructive discussion, so use the first few minutes to learn more about the person/group you are speaking with and keep asking questions and staying curious!

Play the long game

Networking is often only considered to be successful if an immediate lead is generated. This is frequently not the case. Building a network is a long-term tactic that takes dedication. Not every connection will lead to immediate benefits, but consistent effort will yield long-term results. Hard selling rarely delivers, and what really makes for effective networking is authenticity.

Focus on being present. Hand out your business card at the end of the conversation and follow up within 48 hours to nurture the relationship.

Focus on shared interests

I encourage my colleagues to focus on forming connections based on shared interests, values and goals. When speaking in-person, conversations naturally move away from business to other topics, from politics to the economy and hobbies. This is where physical events come into their own. You can build genuine connections and relationships with people when you share common interests.

Consistency is also important. Regularly touching base with your network and show that you value these relationships beyond just transactional moments.

Unlocking new opportunities

Ultimately, in-person networking can deliver significant results if approached correctly. It is fantastic to see a return to physical events, with the coming months offering plenty of opportunities for people to expand their networks and unlock the door to exciting new ventures.

Reflect on commonalities, plan ahead and play to your strengths – these are my secrets to effective networking!