Networking events give business owners the opportunity to build referral systems, sending clients to each other. It’s one of the most lucrative relationships you can ever build. But how do you network like a pro and make these valuable connections happen? A position as an organizer will get you noticed. Tasteful corporate gifts as sponsored prizes may also give you recognition. However, how do you create the type of business connections that will give you long term benefits, and not just short term brand awareness?
- Prepare Your Talking Points
Questions like: “tell me about your dream client” or “what’s your favorite project you’ve done to date?” are light and easy for a first-time conversation with a new person. They also give you great insight into the type of clients this person is looking for. Asking where they found these clients will help you understand where they source their leads and how you can help them gain more. It’s all about giving so that you can receive it!
- Show Your Enthusiasm
Ask follow-up questions when people tell you about their business, especially if they’re dragging on with a slow story. Questions are the easiest way to display a genuine interest without appearing fake.
How do you create the perfect set of questions people will love to answer? It starts with preparation. Before you arrive at the event, take some time to consider what you’d like people to know about your business. Think of relevant questions people could ask that would allow you to respond with the information you wish to share.
- Introverted? Make a Positive Impact with a Narrowed View
In this context, a narrowed view is a coping strategy for introverts who may be overwhelmed by the thought of participating in a formal gathering. Introverts generally cope well in one-on-one conversations. If confidence isn’t your thing, this might be the ultimate hack to networking like a pro.
Walk into the room and focus on having a single conversation. Find someone to talk to, and take it from there. By blocking out the room of people and focusing your attention exclusively on the person in front of you, you’re building a wonderful rapport with your counterpart and finding a way to build meaningful connections that could translate into excellent business opportunities down the line.
4.Select the Company You Keep
At business networking events, you’re aiming to build relationships in business. There will always be personalities that “click” and personalities that don’t. In this context, you’re looking for a sense of trust between two complementary lines of work – it’s not about making friends.
Identify the industries that would best complement yours. Who can you easily refer business to? Who is most likely to have connections you’d like to tap into? For example, electricians and plumbers easily share contacts, as do architects and interior designers. You’ll have to spend some time identifying your ideal clients and what other services they may need.
Own Your Success at Your Next Networking Event
It may sound cliché, but networking like a pro relies on the same equation as every other activity: preparation and opportunity coming together. The fact that you’re attending a networking event means you already have the opportunity. If you add some basic preparation, you’re likely to have a productive outcome – and this applies to introverts too! Be sure to skip over irrelevant topics like the weather. If you’re at a business networking event, focus on relevant industry topics.