Business owners rely on networking to grow their business. While referrals may be the most common kind of “networking” business owners do, attending networking events, conferences, and luncheons can do a great deal to get your name out there. You can get leads for your business and identify which local businesses can meet your needs as well.
Practicing good networking habits are a must in the small business world. So, here are our top five suggestions for making lasting connections at any event:
1.. Choose Strategically – Make sure the group or event you choose will meet your networking needs. Find out if the group or event attracts your target prospect. Try checking out the attendee list on LinkedIn or asking a colleague familiar with the group.
2. Make New Introductions – Decide how many new people you will try to meet and avoid spending too much time with your pals. Be a good networker and introduce a new acquaintance to someone you already know to help keep the event moving.
3. Engage in Real Conversations – Be able to state what you do in just a few seconds. Then, engage the other person by asking genuine questions. Examples include, “What do you like most about what you do,” and “What made you get into that line of business?” Truly listen to them and be ready to answer these questions yourself. Having real conversations will make you truly memorable after the event.
4. Get Business Card Savvy – Make sure you bring plenty of business cards to the event and keep them handy! When you receive a card from someone else, make a quick note about them on the back of the card to remind you who the person was later on when you are following up.
5. Pursue Effective Follow-Up – Using LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch. Connect with a new contact by sharing some thoughts about the speaker or even an article you like that’s related to the event’s theme. Making a personal request to connect can go a long way in gaining new business or referrals.