Have you considered attending a business networking event? Not sure how to get the most out of it? In this article, I share the top 10 tips to get the most from a business networking event and give you more opportunities to find potential customers.
HAVE A PLAN – You MUST have a plan of what you want to achieve at these events. Is it to gain referrals? Build your brand awareness? Or to find useful connections that you want to work with? Whatever your reason, make sure you have a plan and make it clear in your 60 seconds or nobody will ever know!
FOLLOW UP – What is the point in ‘Networking’ if you never follow up with the connections you make after the event? Whether it is to connect with them on LinkedIn or invite them to another group meeting. Better still, pick up the phone and arrange a one-to-one so you can learn more about each other’s business and see how you can help each other.
BE PASSIONATE – When you give your 60 second pitch, or for that matter, talk to people in general, you MUST show passion in what you do. People buy with emotion. If you’re not passionate about your business, how can you expect anyone else to be?
Be SPECIFIC – Be specific about what you want. The more specific you are, the higher the chance that someone can help you. If I were to say ‘I need your help please, I need to buy a present’ Are you going to be able to help me? NO! You don’t have enough information. However, If I were to say ‘ I need your help please, I need to buy a present for my 10 year old nephew who loves Marvel Heroes and I have a £30 budget’ you are far more likely to come up with better suggestions and advice and if not, you may know someone else who has. Now put this into your needs for your business. If you are looking for local restaurant owners who want to expand their menu to include new and exciting vegan dishes, then ask for this. People are more likely to remember you when they go to a local restaurant and see what is currently on offer, than if you were vague about your needs.
BE TRUTHFUL – This can sometimes be more difficult to stick to. I don’t mean we all go around intentionally lying to people, however, in networking, one of the most common questions and responses I hear is ‘How’s business?’ ‘Yeah great thanks, we’re really busy’. If you were busy enough, you wouldn’t be up at the crack of dawn, networking to try and obtain more business would you! Be truthful. I don’t mean start crying in the other persons shoulder with a tale of woe or reeling off your bank details, but don’t put on a facade, making yourself sound busier than you are or people may think you won’t be able to take on any more work. Next time you attend a meeting, make it easier on the person you’re stood next to. Instead of saying ‘How’s business’ try saying ‘What is the one thing I need to know about your business, to be able to help you today?’ You are more likely to get a truthful answer, whilst gaining a better understanding of their needs.
STAY FOCUSSED – When you attend the same networking events on a regular basis, you are obviously going to make connections and build friendships with some people. However, that is not why you attended the event. If you have made friends along the way, GREAT, arrange to meet up for a coffee and catch up on the latest gossip there! Make the most of your time at the event and seek out new faces to network with.
BE DIFFERENT & STAND OUT – Find a way to be memorable to those you meet. Whether it’s wearing a dickie bow or having a tag-line. However, having a great tag-line alone is not enough. you need to be memorable EVERY TIME with an interesting or fun pitch. If people find you boring, they will hit the ‘I Know’ button and switch off to what you are saying.
BE PRESENT – It’s not enough to just ‘attend’ the events, you need to build the skills and confidence to go up to people and start a conversation. Find out about other people and businesses. Not only does this open up potential collaborations, it also helps others to be aware of your business goals.
GIVE MORE THAN REQUEST – One of the best ways to be remembered by others is to be the person who always gives great tips and advice. After all, you are an expert in your industry. Being a Key Person of Influence is far more memorable and rewarding and referrals are far more likely to come your way. Always give more than you expect to receive and you will end up receiving more than you expect!
GIVE YOUR FULL ATTENTION – Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, give it your 100% attention. There is no point in attending these events and leave your mind to wander on other things. Your time is precious, so treat each activity you fill that time with, with the respect it deserves.
Do you know of any other tips that have helped YOU at networking events? If so, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
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