7 Tips For Better Networking

When you become a life coach, you’ll quickly realize that networking is a very important part of being a coach. While it’s true that everyone networks to one degree or another, some people are much better at it because they understand the right way to network. They know how to make themselves stand out from the crowd and how to make the most of their networking opportunities.

Here are 7 simple, practical networking tips for life coaches:

1. Target the individuals who best suit your needs

The goal of networking is not to amass as many business cards as possible. Instead, your goal should be to connect with those people who are in the position to truly aid you in your life coaching business. To put it bluntly, networking with individuals who won’t ultimately provide you with valuable leads (either client leads or partner leads) is a waste of your time. Spend your time building relationships with individuals to whom you can offer opportunities and who will, in turn, offer you opportunities.

2. Set well-defined networking objectives

Effective networkers approach every networking opportunity with a clear sense of what they hope to gain. Before you attend a networking event, ask yourself: why am I here? For example, are you there to promote your new coaching program? Are you there to develop leads? Are you there to meet potential partners? Are you there to mingle and learn from other life coaches?

Having an objective in mind will help you prepare for the event. If you want to promote your new product, you’ll prepare differently than if you are there to meet potential clients.

3. Be prepared to answer the “What’s in it for me?” question

Let’s be honest. People network with one another because they’re hoping to get something out of it. The people you meet probably aren’t interested in providing you with leads out of the goodness of their hearts. When you approach someone, start off by letting them know what you have to offer. Prepare a list in advance. Asking about opportunities for yourself should come later.

Having a clear and well prepared (and rehearsed) elevator pitch can also be very helpful.

4. Don’t expect people to read your mind

Clearly express why you’re initiating the contact. Many people you meet will be willing to help, if you just let them know what kind of help you want. Again, start off by explaining what you have to offer. But then be open and honest about what you’re looking for. If all you do is pop over to say hello and chat about the weather, how can that prospective client know how you can help them?

5. Pay attention to the small things

The most effective networkers have a keen eye for details. You’d be surprised at how the tiniest of actions on your part can add up to make a huge difference:

  • Place your name tag on the right side of your chest—folks you shake hands with can see it more easily.
  • Wear a bright colored accessory to make yourself stand out. Don’t go overboard; neon green ties are a no-no.
  • Have an unusual hobby you can discuss. People don’t often meet a spelunker. That will certainly make you stick in their minds!
  • Smile
  • Befriend a nervous-looking wall flower. They’ll never forget you.
  • Ask a question during the Q&A segment

6. Arrive early and stay late

At the beginning of an event, the crowd will be small. You’ll have an opportunity to talk with everyone in the room. Besides, arriving late is disruptive, and many will perceive you as rude.

If you leave early, you can’t ask the presenter questions. Or, if you’re the presenter, folks can’t ask you questions. The majority of mingling takes place after the presentation. Skipping out will make you look uninterested.

7. Personalize your follow-up

The need to follow-up pretty much goes without saying. However, the way you follow-up counts as much as the act of following up itself. Hand-written notes are much more effective—and memorable—than a generic email. Take a mental note of something you discussed with that person and mention it, such as, “How did Billy’s soccer game go?”