Cleveland Business Connects

ILEA ANNOUNCES NEW CSEP Recipients Cleveland, OH – May 8, 2017 – Amy Van Duyne,...

Networking tactics for Tekkies

By Phil Stella

Yes, Tekkies of the world, arise. You can … and should network!

An IT blogger recently interviewed me about my thoughts on networking best practices for technical professionals. Here’s a summary of that lively conversation for your reading pleasure.

How can tech professionals clearly describe their services to attract “layperson” clients? The answer is simple – really. Explain the value of the company’s products or services in simple prospect-centric benefit-oriented language. Lose the laundry list of features in techno-ese and answer the simple question that all prospects have: “How can your products or services take away my tech pain, save me money or make me money?”

What kinds of networking events are worth going to? First, start with the “what” — What are your networking objectives? What do you want to accomplish at the event? The “what” drives the “who” — Who do you need to meet/talk with to accomplish your objectives? Who are your targets of opportunity? If you know them,  fine. Follow up by phone, email or text. If you only know them in functional terms – IT managers, small business owners, etc. — then the “who” drives the “where.” Go where they are — the meetings or events where large numbers of your targets attend and networking is allowed and encouraged. If you’re a member, great. If not, most organizations welcome guests. So the “what” drives the “who,” and the “who” drives the “where.”

What questions/follow-up strategies should a tech professional employ at/after these events? Networking is all about sharing information. In 1982 John Naisbit defined it in  ‘MegaTrends’ as the “exchange of ideas, information, and resources.” That’s where it all starts. Nothing new, trendy, high tech or sexy.

  1. So, question No. 1 is “What are my networking objectives?” as indicated above.
  2. Questions No. 2 — “What kind of information will I seek to accomplish those objectives?”
  3. During the event, keep asking “Who should I meet that can help me accomplish my objectives OR that I can help?”
  4. When meeting strangers, start with “What do you do/does (name of company) do?”
  5. At the end of a short conversation, ask “May I give you my card so we can keep in touch?” Don’t do it up front.
  6. Upon returning to work, ask “Who should I follow up with about what and when?”
  7. When following up by phone, after briefly reminding the person where you met, ask “Is this a good time for a brief chat?”
  8. Conclude the brief chat with “Is there anything I or someone I know can help you with?”

So Tekkies everywhere rise up … join the varsity team and network as well — or better — than the rest of us.

Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication, which empowers business leaders to communicate confidently. A popular trainer and executive coach on workplace communications and sales presentations, he is on the Cleveland faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative. He can be reached at (440) 449-0356.

Comments are closed.