Networking is an integral part of any organisations marketing plan; developing new business on a face-to-face basis reaps rewards in the long run; powerful networking focuses on building connections NOT closing sales, it’s a long term strategy NOT a short term sales pitch. So what are our top tips on getting the most out of Networking Events?
Don’t be daunted: Networking, like public speaking, comes easier for some more than others. Remember, we all had to start somewhere and we are here to help and support, so as long as you remain positive, approach people and make the first move, we are there to help. Don’t forget to ask “open questions” – e.g. Who what, where, when, why, how, which – and listen.
Make a plan: Choose the right event for you, but make sure you share information. Keep in mind that different departments or colleagues can benefit from different events and topics so forward the invites throughout your organisation. Don’t forget to prepare a short introduction about you and your “offer” – maybe use the back of your business card to describe how your product or service can help business – always a handy reminder for people after the event.
Keeping up the momentum: It’s not just about the networking event itself, but the follow-up afterwards. Make sure you approach all the business contacts of interest, send a short communication, email, or card within 24 hours but make sure it is personal. Highlight and recap on key points of your conversation and don’t forget to arrange an informal meeting such as coffee, lunch, or after work meeting.
REMEMBER Be patient: Reaping the rewards through networking relationships takes time, so network with a view to building relationships. Be prepared to give away free information and share your experiences and advice. Keep regular contact with the businesses met and retain visibility and credibility at events and business briefings.
There is a lot more to networking than just greeting people – the potential lies in creating an interest in your “offer”, spreading the word and developing mutual business referrals, so why not join us and take advantage of our networking opportunities.