Networking is one of the best ways to obtain business, particularly if you go regularly. Not all of us find it easy, including me! Particularly when you hardly know anyone in the room, but actually that’s the best sort of networking to attend, so you gain new contacts.
Personally, one of my targets for 2017 is to do more networking. Particularly as the last two networking events I have attended have resulted in work.
Why networking works
There is nothing better than talking face to face. But it’s not always easy. Some people talk in small groups, which aren’t always easy to join in. You are, after all, in the same boat. If you talk to someone who happens to need what you offer, this is your chance to do a short sales pitch. However, I think its better not to ‘sell’ but just take the contact details and follow up the next day.
What sort is best?
It doesn’t naturally work that the bigger the group of networkers the more you will get out of it. In fact I find just the opposite. Sometimes quality rather than quantity works. It’s also easier to talk to smaller groups, than a large room full of people. Where do you start?!
Tips to make it work for you:
- initially look for people either standing on their own or in small groups not too tightly knit. Just start to approach and more often than not someone will notice and invite you in. Normally body language will tell you who is willing to talk.
- its best to ask the person you are talking to about their business first, unless they ask you first.
- offer help, don’t just ramble on about what you do.
- finish off by offering to exchange business cards, rather than doing it at the start, that way you won’t appear too pushy.
- when you have exhausted one conversation, excuse yourself nicely and join another group.
- Women tend to be more friendly at the start, and often find it easier to initiate conversation with other women, particularly if they are standing on their own.
- try to avoid those who just want to talk about their own business and aren’t interested in what you do (I have met several men like this!). As above, make your excuses and move on! I have even come across some men who go around the whole group just giving out their business cards, without introducing themselves. I politely take the card then put in the bin on the way out.
Article written by Sue at SJE Marketing. If you would like to be a guest blogger, please contact me. Articles must helpful and/or relate to small business. Purely promotional articles will not be accepted.