Remember networking events? You’d meet other entrepreneurs or like-minded business owners and you’d have coffee or a lunch meeting or even a drink in a bar or a workshop session? We all know that COVID-19 put so many networking events on the back burner or canceled them entirely, and who knows if they will return, but we have tips on how to network like a pro.
If you get to meet in person, these will help and if you’re continuing to meet on Zoom, these tips help you connect and potentially grow your business. But remember, you’re making connections, not going in thinking you’re going to make a sale. That may make you sound desperate.
There are effective ways to network and ways your networking efforts crash and burn. I have seen both and I cringe when I see the person at a networking event who is just trying too hard and isn’t interested in building a relationship first.
You’ve honed your elevator speech, shaken hands and exchanged business cards… now what? Do you talk politics, weather, how much they liked the coffee, what about that coronavirus, huh… or do you say, “hey want to buy my stuff?” You’re better talking politics and religion than saying that — believe me.
How To Network Like A Pro
- Why are you attending? Most people attend to find new clients or a new job. A few attend networking events just to get out of the office. Know why you’re going, then make a plan.
- If you’re having a one-on-one is this person prepared to buy? Is this your first meeting? Are you just feeling one another out to see if you’re a good fit? No matter the reason, have a few ice breaker conversation starters. You can also — and you should — pay attention to them and and take a genuine interest in what they say.
- Listen as much as you talk — maybe more. Conversations are give and take. Don’t monopolize the entire conversation and have the connection go home thinking, “wow I never got to say a word.”
- Have a follow up plan, then follow through.
What are your best tips for making the most of networking events?
Rex Richard – Founder and CEO, Peak Dynamics LLC Innovator, WordPress and Multisite “Niche Market Master”, Writer, Speaker, Trainer, Business Coach, Serial Entrepreneur.