To grow your business you MUST attend networking events. Well, that is a pretty broad statement and it may or may not hold a lot of weight. Sure you need to prospect for new clients, but if you’re attending networking events simply for the sake of attending one, are you growing your business? I do have some tips for how to become a networking guru and they may be tried-and-true or they may be new-to-you.
What I do know, as a business coach, is that you can’t operate a business in a vacuum. You also can’t spend so much time out of the office that you’re not taking care of business and serving your current clients. You need to strike a balance and you need to attend networking events that make sense.
How To Become A Networking Guru
I enjoy attending networking events and business meetings. I find them helpful, but I don’t look at them as the only way to grow my business. I also don’t put so much pressure on my attendance there that I walk away disheartened if I don’t close a deal. As a matter of fact, I NEVER attend an event with the idea of closing a deal. A networking event is a getting-to-know you opportunity. Walk in there with the knowledge that you can be a resource and you will find you have more success than those who walk in wanting to close the deal.
- It doesn’t matter what meeting you attend, as long as you’re getting out of the office and meeting new people, right? No. You don’t want to attend a meeting, just to attend a meeting. Choose one that makes sense for you and your business. Your time is too valuable to waste.
- Not everyone is a potential client, or maybe they are! Every person you meet is a potential colleague, but not necessarily a client. This means even the person you’re striking up a conversation with in line at the grocery store could be a colleague or client so it makes sense to be on your best behavior. Imagine if you’re yelling at a cashier and the next day you see the person who was in line behind you at a networking event? You will not be able to erase that first impression.
- Your need to recite your elevator speech and share your business story with everyone you meet. Stop! You don’t. Let people get ot know, like and trust you before you begin the sales pitch. Be a resource. Ask about their business. Make the meeting about them, not you! Ask open-ended questions and steer away from religion or politics at an initial meeting.
Networking is about relationship building. How strong are your relationships?