Building your business with networking is important, but you need to make sure you do it right. To ensure that you do it correctly and don’t make common mistakes, here are the dos and don’ts of networking at local events.
* Thoroughly practice your thirty-second elevator pitch so you can get all of the points out that you need to express to people in just thirty seconds. It should be second nature, so when you meet people on the fly you can tell them what you’re all about.
* Social media is great, but so are face-to-face meetings. When your online contacts are in the area, plan time to meet face to face. Attend regular meet-ups in your area as well. Those face-to-face meetings are great for making connections.
* Have a good handshake. A handshake says a lot about a person. Make it a good, firm handshake.
* Always have your business cards at the ready. You really never know when you’re going to meet someone, so be sure you carry business cards with you at all times.
* If you make a promise, then be sure that you follow through on it. Follow up with the people that you meet. This is going to build those relationships you made nice and strong.
* Keep in touch. Have regular meetings with your network, and be sure to offer them your assistance when asking for their help on something. If you’re having an event, then invite the people in your network too.
* Ask for help. If you’re looking to expand your business, then you need people to help you get the word out. Make sure you ask your network to help you out with spreading the word on whatever you’re working on or whatever you need help with.
* Set goals. Having measurable goals in your networking will help keep you on track and get your business where you want it to be on a specific timeline.
* Be grateful. Saying thank you to your contacts will go a long way in showing your appreciation for what they have done for you.
* Find ways to give back to your network. This is a great way to show appreciation, but it also builds those relationships even stronger when you can help out those who have helped you. No one wants to feel used, so that’s why it’s so important to give back.
* Hard sell. If it’s the first time meeting someone, then you shouldn’t do a hard sell on your product. This should be a time of getting to know you and what you are all about, not about getting money out of someone for your product.
* Monopolize the time talking about yourself. You should be finding out about the person you’re meeting rather than telling them all about you. If you show interest in the other person, then they will be more interested in you as someone who listens.
* Drink too much. Give yourself a two drink maximum when you’re networking. It will make sure that you are coherent when you talk, and that you don’t say anything you later wish you hadn’t.
What networking advice do you have for local events?