Networking, why didn’t I understand sooner!
It seems so simple now! The idea of business networking, but it took a while for it to really sink in! My business is based around selling to other businesses so the typical types of marketing are really hit or miss for me. I needed to be where the business people are. Not everyone who picks up a magazine or sees a flyer will need a website. If fact the majority won’t. However, at a business networking group I have a lot more opportunity to meet business owners – my main target market.
Not that I’m suggesting you ever “sell to the room”. That is one of the major turn offs to prospective clients and networkers! The idea is to build relationships with people so that even if they don’t need your services right now, they recommend you to someone who does. See my top tips for successful business networking to get the most out of your time and money.
Networking Top Tip One
Be on time – or even early. Yes, you might risk being the first there and feeling a little awkward. But the great impression it gives far outweighs any negatives. It shows your keen and serious about your business. It is also 100% better than the other options – risking being late!
Networking Top Tip Two
Try to speak with everyone. Even if it’s just to introduce yourself. But remember, everyone likes to feel important. Don’t just exchange a business card at a glance and barley say a word before moving onto the next person. The idea is to build relationships and not to go home with the most cards. No one wants to feel you are using them just for their contacts. Or worse still, only trying to sell them something. Business owners are people to, the same rules still apply.
Networking Top Tip Three
Be prepared. Usually at business networking groups there is time for open networking. This is where people mingle, chat and have coffee. Then there is a more formal section where you go around the room introducing yourself and your business. You normally get around 60 seconds. Therefore, be prepared. Have business cards on you for the open networking and plan what you are going to say in your 60 seconds. Nothing is more appealing than someone who is confident. Be that person, practice what you are going to say!
Networking Top Tip Four
Don’t “sell to the room”. By this I mean, don’t go to the group with the intention of trying to make as many sales as possible. If you do this, you come across as someone who only takes. Don’t make your 60 seconds a sales pitch to the room. Instead, let people know how your product or service helps your customers and maybe even them. Sell them you and your enthusiasm for your business, it will make a better statement than any offer or “pitch”.
Networking Top Tip Five
Follow up. Whenever you exchange a business card with someone, follow up with them. Send them an email saying how great it was to meet them. Show an interest in what it is they do and have to offer. Better yet, is there anyway your businesses can work together to help each other? It may not seem obvious at first. But I find after a coffee and a chat most businesses can help each other. Organise a 1-2-1 with people who respond positively and continue to build that relationship.
Thanks for reading, everyone keep on networking!
Have a lovely day,
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