Introduce yourself by clearly stating your name and making eye contact while you shake their hand, says Carol Goman, a nonverbal communication expert and author of The Silent Language of Leaders.
If introducing yourself online, remember to follow in-person social etiquette rules. If someone referred you to the person, for example, put the mutual contact’s name in the subject line of the e-mail so there’s an immediate level of recognition. Many believe email is a cold medium so if you can warm it up with something personal, do so.
Listen More, Talk Less
It’s vitally important when first meeting a prospect to spend more time listening to and understanding the person in front of you than talking about yourself or your company. Once you have a better understanding of what drives this person, you can introduce yourself and tell your own stories in a way that best fits their specific needs.
Talking about your background as well as your company’s products and services are a good way to spread the word, but listening closely can help you form a deeper relationship with a prospect that leads to a client partnership.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up and Follow Through
Perhaps the “Cardinal Rule” of networking in growing your book of business is that once you’ve planted the seeds of a new relationship, you must follow up to maintain it. Whether it’s a business referral or a professional connection, get in touch – within 24 hours – to say you enjoyed meeting them.
People who have taken the time to speak with you and provide you with connections or guidance deserve a thank you. Everyone can become a resource to you – they might not be the right person, but they could know someone who is.
It’s also critical to reach out to anyone a connection refers you to. If you miss this opportunity, it makes two parties look bad – you, since you didn’t follow through on a potential lead, and the person who referred you, since they recommended you as a reliable resource.
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