Networking is a big part of business growth.
From making the connections; to building the relationships; to eventually gaining new clients or partnerships. So, how did your last networking event turn out? If you didn't gain opportunities that you expected, here are five tips for a successful future networking.
1. Make Connections in Advance
It is possible to plan potential connections at a future-networking event. Contact the organizer and ask for a list of attendees. If that doesn't work, use social media. Most events will have an Internet presence. If they've registered on Facebook, select the ‘will attend’ option and check out other potential registered attendees. Follow the event on Twitter and use associated ‘hash tags’ to stay updated in real time.
Does the hosting organization have a website? Check out the list of speakers and presenters. If these are people on your ‘hit list,’ then start interacting with them.
2. Start Your Introduction With An Elevator Pitch
First impressions are important, wouldn’t you say? Make sure your introduction is fine-tuned and to the point. Most experts say that a good elevator pitch should take approximately 30 to 45 seconds. In your elevator pitch, three important points should be covered:
- Who you are,
- What you currently do,
- What you’re hoping to gain from the interaction.
"Hi, my name is ______. I am a Business Consultant. I work with women who have reached their income plateau and ready to bridge the gap to a 6-figure income. What advice could you give me in identifying women who could use my assistance?"
3. Make It All About Them
Once you've broken the awkwardness with your professional introduction, think about the topics you want to discuss to learn more about them. For instance, start with topics such as recent books read, hobbies, movies, pets, or kids; move into learning more about their professional background including their current business. You might want to end with asking them who would be an ideal referral for them?
The key is to have a basic conversation flow in your head. This will help in making every connection engaging and professional. Remember to make the conversation about them. Avoid talking too much so that you learn valuable information from your new contacts.
4. Track Your Contacts
After much energy into making the connections, having a follow thru process is extremely important. How do you transform new contacts into mutually beneficial relationships? Hopefully, you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in place to upload your contact information along with notes and details of your initial contact. This will make future contacts easier as you can refer back to details of your initial contact.
5. Follow Up
Now, simply follow up with a short phone call or an email. Make sure you iterate how much you enjoyed meeting them. You might even suggest meeting for coffee. This is a great way to further the relationship.
In conclusion, networking is a great way to meeting like-minded people who you would want to building relationships with that could lead to new opportunities.