To the uninitiated, business networking can be a daunting affair especially if you are going to an event on your own. Well to help ease the stress of it all, Bay Business Network member Neil Chatterjee of Mojo Marketing provides a few tips on how to get the best out of your networking.
A common question that I get asked at events is “what do you do?”. You probably already know that you will be asked this question, so why not prepare an answer! You don’t want to give a speech, but something that captures your business and unique selling points in a nutshell. Even though you know your business inside out, having a prepared answer will stop you waffling and will give you confidence. If you sound confident, then you will also benefit by subtly building an amount of credibility with the person with whom you are talking to. It is important for you to get to the core of what problem you are solving for your customers quickly and impressively. Don’t worry if you don’t quite get it right first time, I’m sure you’d agree that ‘practice makes perfect’!
Get There Early
If you arrive late, then many people will already be in conversation and you may feel unable to interrupt. Believe me that walking into a busy room full of strangers is difficult for everyone. By getting there early you can take control of the situation and easily break into chat in a relaxed manner with other early arrivals about the venue, the event or even the weather. If you do happen to arrive late and you don’t know anybody then my advice would be to see who is on the guest list that you’d like to talk to, then introduce yourself to one of the event organisers and ask them to introduce you to your target.
Everyone at a networking event wants to talk to other business people…yes, they want to talk to you! So don’t be frightened to go up to someone and open up with some small talk. Most people in the room will be nice people who are or have been in similar positions so will generally be understanding. However, do not interrupt a conversation as this would certainly appear impolite and as you well know, first impressions count! A good idea is to look around the room and identify someone who is on there own, probably a shy individual that hasn’t prepared and who would just love you to go and talk to them.
Don’t Sell… Know, Like and Trust instead
Networking is about building relationships, so don’t give people your big sales pitch. Start of with some small talk and then move on to business matters later on. Remember to approach the relationship from the perspective of how you can help them or who you can introduce them to rather than what you can get out of it. Ultimately, you’re trying to get people to know, like and trust you in the same way that you’re trying to meet people who you can know, like and trust. To really allow people to get to know you and for you them, it is firstly important to choose the right networking group that suits you and secondly, for you to attend the meetings regularly.
Don’t forget your business cards!
The Bay Business Network
The Bay Business Network offers a friendly and welcoming environment to develop your networking skills. If you’re looking to meet new people and build your contacts of like minded business people, then please get in touch via our secure form.