Networking – 5 Tips to Make Your Network Meetings More Effective
In these tough economic times, networking is more popular than ever and formal groups have popped up everywhere. Many business owners attend networking every week but they don’t get a great return for their time investment.
Networking – these are 5 tips to make you network meetings more effective.
1. Prepare in advance by having a clear message of what your business actually does. Have plenty of business cards with you and try to find out who will be at the meeting in advance of going.
If you’re a plumber or an accountant and there will be 30 people at the meeting, it’s possible that many of those people may need your services at some point. To me the real target at any network meeting is a referral source or alliance partner. So for the accountant, the people best placed to give him or her referrals on an on-going basis may be a banker or attorney. For the plumber it may be a builder or a carpenter.
2. Network naturally and don’t sell. The aim of any network meeting is not to sell but to make connections with people that you can follow up with sometime after the meeting. There is nothing more off putting that the person who goes to a network people and looks like they are trying to beat the Guinness book of records for how many business cards can be collected in the shortest time. Equally off putting is the person who is trying to sell you their product or service.
3. Take a genuine interest in people and ask lots of questions. To me the aim of networking is to meet new people so that you both have an opportunity to tap into each other’s network, where the fit is right. We refer business to people we know, like and trust. Business is all about people and relationships so take the time to chat with people you meet and get to know them. Many people feel a bit shy going into network events and a room full of strangers but rest assured many other people in the room feel the same way as you.
Networking is one of the most effective ways of promoting your business and finding good business partners who can refer you business on an on-going basis.