Networking is crucial to success. It’s not what you do, it’s who you know, is a common business sentiment. But this isn’t entirely true. It’s who you know in accordance with what you do that makes networking powerful for business. It’s not just knowing the right people, it’s about knowing how to work with the right people towards sales, growth, and profit. This is where pitching and networking come in.
When you network, you are increasing your opportunity to gain clients and exposure. When you pitch, you are increasing your opportunity to sell through those network avenues.
And when you sell, you’re in business.
Networking and pitching give you opportunities. They make available to you the prospect of growth. Networking opens up new pathways, and pitching monetizes those pathways.
Ask yourself: How can you utilize networking and pitching? What will this do for your career or business? How do these actions spur professional growth?
Networking is not always easy. For some, it comes naturally. For others, it can feel uncomfortable. If you feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there, consider reframing the way you look at networking.
Networking is more than meeting new people. It is about finding the right people in the right way. It is about connecting with people within your professional world who will help you grow your business or career in some way. Networking is about creating a network of people with whom you want to surround yourself in the professional world. Don’t waste your time with the wrong networks, and think twice about who you present your business card to.
The golden rule of both networking and business is to add value before you start asking. Before you invite someone new to your network, consider:
If you cannot find value for yourself or the other person, then it is likely not the right partnership going forward. Your network should be based on mutual and consistent growth.
Who and how you meet people are important in understanding the value of networking.
Connect with influencers and industry leaders. Who are the people in your sphere that, if they were to promote your business, would skyrocket your success? Who are the experts with great tips and advice?
Connect with industry peers. Who are the people that do a similar job as you? Who are the people in your industry that have more experience than you? Who are competitors that you can learn from?
Connect with potential clients. Who will want to buy your product or service? Who is your ideal client?
Connect with indirect partners. Who works outside of your industry that could add value to your business or career? Who could you build a relationship with for future growth within the same target audience? For example, if you own a graphics design company, you could partner with a content creator to package your services together or give referrals to one another.
To connect with these individuals, you need to think of where they spend their time. Do they go to conferences? Do they go to local networking events? Do they participate in online forums? Do they write at the local coffee shop? Do they hang around the water cooler?
The most common forms of networking are in-person and online. In person you can quickly assess value and make a strong impression. Digitally, it can be harder to stand out in a sea of online users. In this way, consider creating a personalized brand that will help you strengthen your networking ability with relevant parties in the online sphere.
As you build a network, you will begin to pitch. However, on occasion you will need to go through gatekeepers before you have the opportunity to pitch.
First, you need to understand to whom you will be talking. For example, to reach a senior-level executive, do you need to first speak to an administrative assistant or secretary?
To achieve your goals, you need to get in front of the right people, but you must also consider how you will first get your foot in the door.
Who are the gatekeepers to your success? Know who is the gatekeeper for your pitch, and be ready with a pitch for him. Being prepared at every level will help you not only grow and strengthen your network, but sell as well.
Growing up in the UK, Peter learned from Shakespeare that brevity is the soul of wit. He carried this over into his sales pitch concept with 5 key rules:
Like the five rules, make a pitch in less than five lines.
Timing is vital. How do you make the delivery? How concise and clear is the delivery?
Do not jump into the sales pitch when you first meet someone or step into a meeting — this could trigger a negative response. Instead, find a personal and understandable context. Placing your sales pitch within a wider scope will enhance trust, which will in turn give you the right sort of attention that later encourages the closing of the sale.
Networking and pitching are as important today as ever. Knowing who to network with, where you can find them, and how to pitch to these individuals is crucial to gaining sales, partnerships, and growth. Effective networking and pitching is the key to developing your business, your career, and your life.