Networking events offer small business owners a great opportunity to build strategic connections and acquire new clients. When executed effectively, business networking could help yield many sales opportunities and establish your reputation as the go-to solutions provider in your industry.
Here are six proven tips to successfully attend a business networking event and establish valuable connections:
1. Relationship building comes first
First thing first, networking events are not about the sale, yet. It’s about meeting other business people, potential investors and prospects. Most importantly it’s all about building a lasting relationship with them.
Along the way, you will learn more about each of your new contacts and how you may be able to convince each one of them to choose your business in the future or perhaps work together with you on a certain project.
2. Be a valuable resource
Don’t hesitate to help a new contact whenever you see an opportunity to offer some help. Connect new business friends with your old business pals. Trade useful information with them. This way you position yourself as a valuable resource.
Remember what Zig Ziglar once said about business success: “You can get anything you want in life if you help enough people get what they want.”
3. Be genuine
Entrepreneurs are savvy individuals when it comes to dealing with other people in business. They appreciate other business owners who are truthful about the business they represent. They want to deal with other entrepreneur whom they perceive as a genuine person.
Avoid making any promises you can’t deliver. If you tell one of your new contacts that you will send her a link to a very useful free tool, be sure that you do so.
4. Create interesting conversations
Be memorable to your new business contacts by engaging them in some interesting conversations. Start with an open-ended question that focuses on what they do or the challenges that they’re facing right now.
Take mental notes about your conversation and surprise them in your email or the next time you meet by mentioning interesting takeaways you got from your last conversation.
5. Be a good listener
You will get a lot from attending a business networking event by just being a good active listener. People love to talk about themselves, especially business people. They also love a good listener, which gives you a huge advantage.
There’s a good reason why very successful, all-star networkers advise you to make your elevator pitch short and sweet. That’s because actively listening to an important potential investor or prospect achieves more things than talking.
6. Utilize a CRM tool
There are plenty of great options out there. Choose a good customer relationship management tool to keep track of your networking and interaction activities. A CRM tool allows you to keep tabs on your new and old contacts and helps you work more efficiently and productively.
Do you agree with these tips? Can you recommend other effective networking tips to establishing great connections? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below.