6 Networking Tips
Are you a business owner looking to make new contacts or trying to reach a wider audience? Have you considered trying local networking events? If not, perhaps now is the time, because it could be the key to moving your business forward, as you never know who you'll meet at an event. Some of the best business relationships have been founded on chance meetings or 5 minute conversations.
You may think networking events are not for you, perhaps you prefer to use traditional advertising techniques as a way to reach your ideal clients. My advice would be to integrate an element of networking within your overall marketing strategy for maximum impact. In my experience, people buy from people & will rarely respond with an immediate reaction to an advert.
Networking events provide the perfect opportunity to build new relationships with people you would potentially never otherwise meet. It's important to find the right event, if you look, you'll discover everything from useful seminars which feature a networking element to cocktail clubs; so you're bound to find a format which works for you.
It's essential to remember you may not find your ideal client immediately, but if you meet 10 new people, that potentially gives you access to a 1000 new contacts, as most individuals have at least 100 people in their professional network.
Practical Networking Advice
Article provided by Grainne Stephens Founder of Espresso Events.
- Be Prepared. Before you attend any events, plan ahead, as you'll need to ensure you can explain your business, what it does & what makes it different, concisely. Don't attempt to explain everything your company offers, pick 2 or 3 key points & focus on how you provide value to others by solving an existing problem.
- Be yourself! Make sure you consider what you're going to wear in advance, choose an outfit you're comfortable with & which makes you feel confident.
- Don't go for the hard sell. Don't monopolise a conversation, approach the event as a way to make new connections rather than merely a chance to promote your company. '
- Take Business Cards/Promotional Material Take plenty of business cards; but remember there's no prize for distributing the most cards at an event, focus on making genuine connections with those present.
- Follow up after the event. If you've met someone you think is useful, be sure to follow up with a short e-mail 2 or 3 days after meeting them, they'll appreciate the gesture & are more likely to remember you next time they need someone in your field of expertise.
- Be patient. Don't expect immediate results, it's a recognised fact that clients purchase products or services from people they know, like & trust, so work on getting to know people so they like & trust you!
Do you have any other networking advice to share? Please add them in the comments below.