If networking were simple, we wouldn’t need to write an 88-page guide on how to do it well! There are 5 keys to networking success in management consulting They’re all pretty basic, but it’s jaw-dropping how many of you stray from the path when you’re out there on your own. You’ve got to stay focused if you’re going to break into a cut-throat industry.
As such, make sure you keep these 5 keys top of mind:
Your goal is to be talking to…
The right person
At the right time
At the right firm
In the right location
For the right position
There are 2 parts to networking, The first is obvious – it’s a chance to get in the door – using your education, your skills, and your relevant experience.
The second is less obvious – networking enables you to conduct research, ask great questions, and meet with key people to enable you to tailor your application and interviews to sell yourself to a specific firm.
Think about it in terms of sales. Before you hit the shelves with a new product, you collect market intelligence – who is your customer, what are their needs, what are they looking for and how much are they willing to pay? Your research defines your sales approach.
For example – let’s say you’re working for a tech start-up selling the hottest new mobile phone product on the market, You’ve talked to a few medium-sized companies to test the waters and get a feel for the market – what the barriers are, why or why not your technology is relevant, etc. Your ultimate target, however, is a $2M contract with AT&T. You’ve got a meeting set up with a VP (you’re in the door), and you’re prepping this week. How do you get the telecom mammoth to sign on the bottom (close the deal)?
You’ve done your research beforehand to know what they’re looking for, and now you craft every message you share with the firm to explain how what you have is what they are looking for.
In consulting, you’re the product, and each firm is your customer. When you know what they’re all about, you can effectively sell yourself to them.