As a business owner, you can’t underestimate the value of networking. Customers would much rather spend money with someone they know and trust than with someone they don’t. So, to bring in new sales and gain repeat business use these keys to network like the pros.
If you’re in an area where there are many networking events available, be sure to choose those that most closely align with your customer base. You may naturally lean toward industry-specific events, but if you’re networking to grow your customer base, make sure you go where your customers will be.
After you choose the event, create a specific plan for who you want to meet, what you want to accomplish, and how you’ll go about it. Look at who is hosting the event and see if a list of attendees is available then pick at least five specific people to start conversations with. You also need to have a tangible goal in mind so you can stay focused during the event. If you have a business partner, bring them into your plan to make double the amount of connections.
After introducing yourself to someone new, make it a point to be interested in getting to know them. Rather than focusing the conversation on yourself, ask questions that will help you find things you can relate to and then use those things to guide your conversation. It’s important to make a personal connection before trying to introduce your business into the conversation.
Have you ever met someone who told you they’d follow up with an email or call but they never did? It makes a bad impression, right? Saying you’ll follow up and not doing so will hurt your reputation, so only say it if you mean it. Also, going to a networking event, meeting great people, and then doing nothing to follow up is a big waste of time. To get the most out of networking, follow up promptly and always keep your word.
Networking is a great way to build your customer base. Use these four keys to unlock the doors to networking success and start growing your business today.