SCBN Business Networking
There is no secret to business networking events. Many business owners starting out find the thought of mixing it up with experience business owners, a bit dauting and intimidating. I can assure you there’s no need to worry, most business networking events you will find lots of business owners, who are friendly and only to happy to chat away about all things business and social.
Its not only the people you meet at networking events that can become your clients, if you present you and your business well, chances are they will recommend you to other business owners they deal with outside of the networking world, if any of them need the services you are offering.
Don’t try and be someone you are not, just be yourself
Networking events are all about building trusting relationships. If other business owners sense you are not being true to who you are, don’t expect them to be willing to trust you with looking after their business interests. (Experienced business owners can see right through a fake personality)
Attend networking events regularly
Familiar faces create trust, so the more network meetings you can attend the better. I have been to network meeting where its taken maybe up to 5 meeting of talking to people before being asked about doing business.
Ask questions about other people’s business
Don’t introduce yourself to other networkers and start talking about yourself and your business, and how good you are at what you do. If you go into any conversation with an inflated ego, people will shy away and avoid talking to you. Listen to what others are saying and take a genuine interest you might learn something.
This may sound obvious, but I have seen time and time again, networkers butting into other peoples conversations before a break in the conversation that is already taking place. Don’t fall into the trap on one upmanship, its cringe worthy.
Again, listen carefully to what others are saying and telling you about their business and keep a mental note of important points, if someone is going to trust you supplying or providing services to their business, they will want to feel you are genuinely interested in them.
Make sure you take notes on potential clients
Don’t just rely on memory recall from detailed conversations. If there is a particular business owner you meet that you would like to do business with, research their business and target them like a sniper rather that a splatter gun, chances are they will appreciate the work and effort you have put into researching their business service and products.
Don’t play the numbers game
You wont feel the vibe with everyone in the room, you don’t have to meet up and introduce yourself you everyone attending the event. Get chatting with maybe four or five different people who are a good fit for your business.
Make sure when attending networking events, you have business cards and any marketing material that is essential to help people understand what your business can do for them. Digital business cards are now becoming very popular and enable you to link up straight away on any new contacts smart phone.
Stay in touch
Stay in touch with any potential client that you consider a good fit for your business. Send emails regularly with maybe a follow up phone call on occasion (Don’t become a nuisance) A follow up telephone conversation a week after the event will keep you fresh in their memory.
Enjoy the event and meeting new people
Networking is fun and should be treated as such. As far as dress code goes wear what is you, not what you think should be you. If suit and tie is your thing that’s fine and if smart casual is what you prefer, then that fine as well. I would not advise you going to a meeting with your dinner smudged down your t-shirt and 5 days after not having a shower.