• Laine Hoke

Networking 101 With Van Baird

Updated: Nov 15, 2018

Millennials, meet Van Baird. A networking and people connecting machine.

Van, meet Millennials. A generation hell bent on doing things differently and delivering a ton of value without being “too salesy.”

Network Millennial had the opportunity to sit with Van and get a little IRL face-time with him to learn more about being a great networker.

We go *so much* value from our convo with Van, we asked him if he would share a few tips with our audience on how to be a stellar networker- both digitally and in person. So without further adieu here is Networking 101 With Van Baird.

When I think of networking, I think of two things. The ease of networking in the digital age, and the benefit of being face to face.

From a digital standpoint, we have so much access to so many people via the Internet, social media, blogs, the list goes on…

What is so interesting is that most of the accounts that I follow do a really good job of promoting themselves, but I don't get a sense that those accounts are necessarily listening to the people that they're following.

In this day and age, we share everything online. Which is a little bit of hyperbole, but it's true.

When people ask me how to network better, I generally ask them, "What are you doing to listen to the people that matter to you the most?"

I get that your business is important and that marketing is important and that promoting your business is important. But without customers, without those people, you have no business.

Take five to 10 minutes out on a daily basis and go through the accounts of the people that are your customers. If you have a small business, that's really easy to do.

What are they posting on Facebook and Instagram? What are they Tweeting? What are they sharing on LinkedIn? Are they pinning certain things in Pinterest?

If you listen hard enough and well enough, they'll tell you how to love on them.

Listen to them enough to know where their favorite restaurant is, what their favorite beach is. Are they a mountain person or a lake person? When you invest time in listening to those people, you'll know them better and you can engage them at a deeper level.

Once you get that information you’ll have content for days because now you can use your platforms to elevate your customers.

If you’re a numbers person think about it like this: If you post 10 times a week, I would encourage you that 6 of those posts are about other people, other accounts, those customers that mean so much to you.

Elevate them.

Then a couple times a week try talking about a day in your life so people still know what you're about. Here was a success story, here was a failure.

And then every now and then, throw in a promotional post and ask for referrals or ask for business or promote what you're selling.

As a general rule of thumb use the 60/20/20 rule. 60% of the time, post about other people based on the listening that you've done. 20% of the time, post about a day in your life. And then 20% of the time, ask for business.

There you have it. The digital approach to networking by Van Baird.

And now, let’s see what Van has to say about what Network Millennial is all about.

A little bit of that face-time, baby.

Years ago I walked into a Starbucks and ran into five to six people that I knew that were there working or meeting someone or just having coffee.

I walked out thinking, "Why would I ever go through the drive thru?" You miss out on an opportunity to run into people that you know.

Ever since then, I've always gone in the store to get my coffee.

Sure enough, the one day I walk into a Starbucks in Dawsonville, Georgia, there was Laine Hoke working on her business. Somehow or another, the topic of insurance got brought up and in about 10 minutes, I talked to her about what she had and why she might want to consider updating her coverages.

By the end of that day, Laine was a new client.

Networking in the digital age can be fun, but when you're face to face, it can be even more exciting.

Look for opportunities within your day to walk into areas where you know you might see people that you know.

Don't just run through the drive thru, take the time to go into Kroger to pick up your prescription.

Look for ways to run into people. You never know who you will bump into.

Network Millennial wants to thank Van Baird for taking time out of his day to give us some tips we can use to become better networkers! (And for explaining car insurance)

We want to run into you at our next event on November 6th at From The Earth Brewing Company in Roswell. Get your FREE ticket now!


© 2019 by Network Millennial.

Nashville, TN + Atlanta, GA

lainehoke@gmail.com if you must.

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