Monday 15 February 2010

Effective networking - preparation

A prepared list of what you want from this contact with space to write answers against each item. This could include:

• The possibility of a meeting, if you are telephoning. Normally ask if they could give you half an hour of their time.

• General advice about business opportunities.

• Information about any possible leads or information in the area or industries in which you are interested. Your contact may know, for instance, that a company is expanding or moving into the area.

• Names, addresses and telephone numbers of any contacts who can give further help on the lines of the above.

• The best means and times for contacting them.

• Whether or not it is possible to use your prime contact's name.

Referred Contacts

The approach will vary considerably depending upon the strength of the referral from your primary contact as follows:

• Your primary contact may be prepared to set up a meeting or even take you along to introduce you.

• Your contact may suggest that you speak to someone and pass on your CV which will be handed over personally to the referred contact.

• Your contact may suggest that you get in touch with someone but not mention their name, for whatever reason [not sufficiently well acquainted or is a direct business competitor, or they are in conflict over some issue. This becomes more like a cold call and needs careful preparation.

• Your contact may advise that you present yourself in person at someone's office. Some people do respond better to the immediate and personal approach, particularly in service industries.

Whatever your method of approach, you have to prepare yourself as thoroughly as for your primary contacts.

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