Effective business networking is the coming together of individuals to build both trust and relationships. They then become real live walking, talking advertisements for one another. Networking is about being genuine and authentic and seeing how you can help others. You don’t go to networking events to sell anything except your willingness to help other networkers.
Networking is a great way to meet people in a non-selling environment. Treat it as a meet ‘n greet. Ask people about their businesses. Get to know them. Be friendly and relaxed. Enjoy the food. Above all, do not sell. If you do meet someone who does appear to in your target audience, ask for their business card and follow up with them later in a friendly, non-pushy way to see if there might be a fit.
Here are some ideas to help you get the most from your networking efforts:
1. Determine how much time you will devote to networking each month. Plan on attending a specific number of events and make sure they fit around your other lead generating activities. Ultimately, you’ll want to measure the value of your networking leads against the time spent to get them.
2. Pick events that bring you face to face with your target audience. Alternatively, try to connect with people who can in turn connect you with your audience.
3. Don’t give your cards out indiscriminately. Give them only to those who ask for it. They are the people most likely to pass your info along.
4. Ask lots of questions. Learn about the other attendees and their business. You are pre-qualifying them to see if they meet your target criteria. If so, ask for their card. If not, don’t.
5. Ask questions, listen and engage people. This is the quickest way to develop rapport with someone, and you’ll know right away if they’re someone you should be doing business with.
6. Manage your time so you can meet enough people to justify your time spent networking. Don’t get caught up in long-winded conversations about current events.
7. Give referrals when you discover a fit. If they’re the kind of person you want to do business with, they’ll reciprocate. That could be the start of a long-term business relationship.
Networking is a time-honored way of developing business relationships. It can be done in groups or clubs set up specifically for that purpose. It can be done through Chambers of Commerce, or anywhere you meet people for any reason. Some people “network” while standing in line at the movies!
It all depends on your mindset and your focus. The more people you meet who might need your product or service, the more potential sales will come your way.
Trembling Giant Marketing is all about building relationships. We want to see you succeed. Call us today for your free consultation.
Trembling Giant Marketing