In my final blog post of 2014, I wrote about the value of various kinds of networking groups, which can be extremely useful for making contacts in your industry, getting involved in the community and growing your business.
If you’ve decided to join a networking group or attend a business event in 2015 – the New Year is a great time to get focused and efficient. Here are 4 tips to ensure you’re making the most of your time while you’re at events.
First off, think about why you joined this group in the first place. Did you join to make contacts or gain knowledge in your industry? Was it to become more involved in the community? Or was it primarily to build your business and find new clients? Remembering why you joined and what your goals were will help you think about what you want to do while you’re there. Can’t come up with a good reason to go? If not, then don’t – it’s not worth your time.
2. What’s in it for them?
Before any meeting, ask yourself what you can offer that would be beneficial to someone else. For instance, if your goal is to find new clients, be prepared to offer something of value to help demonstrate your expertise, such as benchmarking information, a white paper or a free consultation. Give and you shall receive.
3. Do your homework
Before going to any event, it’s really important to prepare – especially if your goal is to make contacts that could lead to more business. If possible, do some background research, such as getting a list of attendees so you know who’s coming and how you might help them. Take your own printed business cards, your notebook and/or smartphone so you can collect information.
Next, make some specific goals for each session or event. How many people would you like to talk to? Plan to arrive early and stay until you meet your goals.
4. Follow up
Meeting someone at a networking event is about starting a relationship – don’t expect to win a piece of work from your first meeting. Make a point of getting in touch with your contacts within a day or two of the event. If they don’t respond immediately, continue to follow up with a call or email from time to time (without overdoing it!) so that you stay on their radar. The next time they might need your expertise, product or service, you’ll be on their minds.
Still looking for more ideas? Contact Breathe Marketing today Breathe Marketing.