Networking is becoming of ever-growing importance to establishing a well-known, trusted and successful business. Ryan from Intergrid, an Australian dedicated server provider, shares some tricks he’s learnt from ten years experience in sales and event management.
Be Willing to Travel
Making new contacts may often require you to travel to where those contacts are located. This may be outside of your region, or even country, so ensure that you have the time and resources to make the trips.
Find out valuable Information about Your Prospective Contacts
Chief executive of Postcode Anywhere, Guy Mucklow, says: “Research who else is going to a networking event and use LinkedIn to find five people that will be valuable to meet. Make a mental note of common areas of interest and discussion points that will make your conversation smoother and more interesting when you meet in person.”
“Look around the room for people standing on their own,” says Adam Riccoboni, co-founder of consultancy platform MBA & Company. “If everyone seems to be locked in conversation, never be afraid to approach. So long as you’re polite, you’ll be welcomed into the discussion but always gauge their body language, if two people are deep in conversation, best not to butt in.”
Don’t make it all about Business
It should come across as if you are at an event to make friends and not business leads. Keep talk about your business to a minimum, and don’t use the event as an opportunity to sell.
Don’t Allow Your Scope to get too narrowed
Once your conversation with a person has concluded, don’t be afraid to shake their hand, tell them how nice it was to speak to them, and move on to another person to make conversation with and get to know.
It may be difficult to match faces to names after the event. Write down keywords that were relevant to your conversation to help you to remember.
Always Be Punctual
Sometimes the most memorable interactions occur early on in the event. It is not ideal to be one of the last people to arrive, as everyone will already be deep in conversation.
Take People’s Business Cards
A business card may make the world of difference when attempting to remember people and the conversations you had with them. It is a good idea to write down notes on the cards based on the people you speak with.
Be Prepared to Answer the Question “What Does Your Company or Business Do?”
Although your business may have complex business models that are established across many markets, it is best to keep things simple and to the point at events, as there will probably not be much time for extensive discussion.
Make Sure Your Contacts Are Meaningful
Do not contact a person for no specific reason, and always ensure that you have a legitimate reason to follow up with them. Mentioning a website or a book and offering to send the link after the event is an effective reason for follow-ups.