I had the pleasure of being the speaker at an event about “How to Grow Your Business Through Networking”. Most people know they must do it, however, they either:
- Don’t want to be there
- Don’t know how to network
- Don’t have a game plan
- Don’t have the desired result to why they are there
For you to develop a game plan for whatever event you are attending, think of it as a “pre-call plan” for networking. Choose to not focus on all the “don’ts” when it comes to networking and instead “do” it with a purpose and a strategy.
Here are some important tips to network more effectively:
1) Give your business card ONLY to get one in return.
Don’t be the “Business Card Jester” throwing business cards at everyone you meet. You’ve seen this person at many events, they typically finish the event saying, “Wow! I passed out so many business cards! The business is just going to come right in now.” No one wants that person around them at an event—you know who you are.
Instead, ask for their card, if they don’t have one, ask for their email address or cell phone, whichever communication they prefer more. When you send them your information through their preferred outlet it allows you remain in control of the communication process.
2) Go with a clear goal for each event you attend.
It doesn’t have to be huge but go there with a goal in mind. It could be as simple as meeting a particular person, finding 3 people to have another conversation with (prospects) or a referral partner. It could also be to give someone else a referral, people love givers.
3) Give before you receive.
Look to give first when attending an event or joining an organization. Be clear on what you can do for them before trying to promote your company. This will help others realize you can be of value to them and their end goal.
4) Ask for the list of attendees prior to the event.
This gets overseen often but can help you create a clear goal for each event you attend. Most associations and organizations will have a list of the attendees when hosting an event, however, some will be reluctant to give this out but if you don’t ask, you’ll never get. What’s the worst that can happen, this list will give you an idea of who you would like to engage with and who you can give introductions to.
5) Use a brief commercial (10-15 seconds).
Give a brief explanation of who you help and some of the issues your prospects run into, your business's purpose. Focuses on how you help or provide results to your clients, do not look to sell as well as no features and benefits of your company or products. You will sound like every other salesperson in attendance. Be different.
6) Track your networking activity.
If you don’t track your activity, how will you know if it is successful or not? Use your CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), a spreadsheet or Word Document to track where you’ve gone who you’ve met and your follow-up. Tracking can also tell you what methods were effective in generating conversations, developing rapport and meetings, as well as what to potentially attend again.
Networking should be something you look forward to, not dread. A lot of it has to do with not being prepared, just like anything else in your business, you must prepare and track to deliver success. Now that is covered, enjoy your next event with energy, preparedness, and purpose.
If you want to get some more in-depth tips on how to successfully work the networking room or gain that level of comfort you are invited to attend our session on April 13th on “Networking The Sandler Way”. Click here to get your guest pass.