Networking gives small business owners the opportunity to meet other business owners. It can benefit your business by allowing you to connect with new clients and suppliers. Plus it gets you out of the office, meeting people face to face.
Some people don’t put much thought into networking, but they are missing a trick! We include networking into the mix, because we can see the value of face-to-face meetings. Let’s be honest, networking is work and as such, it’s a good idea to have a plan when attending networking events.
You too can become a successful Networking Ninja with these 10 Networking Tips:
First Impressions count
Be prepared, dress smart, be professional and know your elevator pitch. Smile and be friendly, ask open questions, listen and show genuine interest.
Arriving early allows you to compose and prepare yourself. Look at the attendance list and plan your time. It’s also less crowded so you get chance to meet people first and you can start conversations.
Have a plan
Look at the attendance list and select the people you want to meet. Research and connect on social media before the event. Set yourself a goal – talk to five people and arrange two 121s.
Have lots of business cards
Business cards are so important. Make sure they have the correct information on, state what you do and how you help others. Your business cards should reflect your business.
Make Yourself Stand Out Within The Room
Think about the last networking group you attended. I bet there are one or two people who immediately spring to mind. It could be that they wore a bright jacket, a fancy tie or, if you’re like Steve, odd socks! Either way, make yourself memorable. Roller banners are another great way of making sure your business stands out.
Pay attention to what people are saying and make notes on who they would like an introduction to.
Follow up within 24 hours (48 max). Emails are a quick way to do that –refer to their business and their ideal clients i.e. what you discussed and wrote down. Connect on social media after the event.
Networking is about giving, as well as receiving. Help others by introducing them to someone or doing them a favour. You’ll soon see that what goes around comes around.
Don’t sell to the room, sell through the room. I can’t stress this enough! Your fellow networkers are your unpaid sales team! If you pick up a sale or two from those who attend, see that as a bonus. Get to know people, even if they aren’t your ideal client. You never know who knows who, so don’t assume that a person isn’t of interest to you.
Don’t let them forget you
Nurture the relationship. Check in with your contacts now and again to see if you can help them. Introduce them to other contacts of yours. Send them articles that may be relevant to them. Tag them in relevant social media items. Make sure they don’t forget you, because you never know when you may need them or when they can help you via a referral.
I hope these networking tips help you to network more effectively.
Visit the Chartered Institute of Marketing for details of networking events in your area
For more help and advice then please do call us on 01274 965411 or email us [email protected]