For any new businesses, networking is paramount if you want to grow your connections, confidence and client base. We have written a quick guide to help you prepare for your next event.
This is vital to ensure you aren't wasting your time. Conduct thorough research so you are able to streamline the events you attend. If the description doesn't give much insight into the type of businesses that will be there; send the events assistant an email to find out more. A few months ago we registered for a business networking event that turned out to be a religious business networking event. We are atheists! The title of the event was misleading but we missed the small print here and we paid the price for a wasted journey. Research is key. Be sure to sign up for everything that sounds appealing before tickets run out. If you change your mind you can always let the events team know later. But make sure you do so you can allow others to attend.
It's vital you have an elevator pitch in place before attending networking events. This sets the scene, starts the conversation and must generate interest with the audience. Aim to provide a summary of who you are and what you do in 30-60 seconds. There will be different versions depending on who you are speaking to and its important to tailor this accordingly. Learn this like a script but practice to deliver it naturally and allow it to flow in conversation. Value beats price every single time; so rather than focus on cost or features, your pitch needs to focus on the value you're going to create for the person you're pitching.
Business cards! Don't forget your business cards! Take the time to spread these across all handbags, purses, coats and jackets. A notebook and pen(s) are also vital, especially if you are attending seminars. The events team usually always distribute presentations after the event but taking notes can trigger ideas.
The more you talk about your business, the more confident you become. Everyone has to start somewhere. Be personable and professional but avoid coming across as desperate and self absorbed. When faced with a potential client, make sure you pay attention to their body language, tone of voice and the conversation being had. Ask questions about them, their business, their day, their week. Be aware of bringing the conversation back to them when talking about your business and be tactful when discussing what you can offer them.