Last week I wrote about some of the benefits of networking and of finding the right group to suit your business’s needs. It’s not so very surprising that I’m passionate about the subject, as I run the Worthing branch of the Mumpreneurs Networking Club as well as attending other networking groups and events. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years:
- Remember that you are not only reaching the people in the meeting, but potentially your message will be getting to their networks too. So don’t be too quick to move on from a chat with someone who isn’t your ideal client or joint venture partner – it could be that their spouse, colleague or friend is, and if you make a good impression they’ll be spreading the word for you.
- Listen carefully, and take notes if appropriate. Take the time to get to know people, even if they are not an obvious match for your business at first. You never know what other skills and experience or potential support can be just beneath the surface.
- Networking is more than just selling to each other. Consider what else you’d like to get from the session – Advice? A contact in a particular area? A recommendation? Have a clear ‘wishlist’ before you enter the room.
- If you know that you will have time to speak in the meeting, find out how long you will be given. Don’t try to say everything about your business in just 60 seconds – say your name, your company name, a sentence about what it is that you do and then another sentence or two about a special offer or event or asking for an item on the wishlist you’d created. Then repeat your name and your business name.
- Take plenty of business cards, leaflets or other promotional material with you.
- As we say at Mumpreneurs, ‘the fortune is in the follow-up’. Contact the people you met after the meeting – give them a call, or add them to your social media contacts. But don’t ever add them to your mailing list without having asked them first.
What are your top networking tips? Come and share them at www.facebook.com/womaninbusiness or tweet me @coachbythecoast.