Do you attend networking events? You should. They’re a great marketing tool. Business networking events help establish you and your business in your area. Take advantage of as many networking opportunities as you can.
There are several business networking groups, starting with your chamber of commerce. Consider, also, lead-generation groups, service clubs (Rotary and such), general networking groups (the Milwaukee area has Funtastic Times) and others.
For maximum benefit, keep these ideas in mind:
1. Show genuine interest in the other person. Sure, you’re there to generate leads. But all long-term business relationships are grounded in mutually beneficial arrangements. Ask the other person probing questions, such as:
A. What is your firm known for?
B. What sets you apart?
C. What sort of customer are you looking for?
The latter question is especially important. It shows that you’re interested in helping the person build his business.
Along those lines, if you can introduce a buyer to a seller that evening, your actions will be highly appreciated – and remembered – by both. Keep alert for opportunities to refer during the event.
2. The day of the business networking event, spend a few moments brushing up on your presentation (aka “elevator speech”). Think of something new to add. Anything happening in your firm? A special you can offer? How about a referral lead program? I offer one for my travel club.
3. Remember to collect business cards of everyone you speak with during the networking event. Afterward, send brief messages about how you appreciated their time. Include any additional information you promised to send.
Make a point to say hello to those individuals the next time you meet them at networking events. Remember: Like a good wine, business relationships take time to develop.
For related reading, see “Business networking events vital to your success” and “Additional tips for attending business networking events.”
Any advice for others about attending business networking events? Feel free to comment below. If you found value in this post, could you do me a favor and share it with others? Thanks, and good luck with your networking.