Much of being a successful entrepreneur rests on who you know and how great of a business connection you can establish with them. And that’s what networking is all about.
But a lot of people struggle with the networking aspect of business. They have no problem setting up their business, and doing the work. But making those connections with other business owners boggles their mind.
With that in mind, here are some great networking tips to help you shine at your next event:
Listen More Than You Talk
Remember way back in the day when your mother told you that you had two ears and one mouth, so you should listen more than you talk? When it comes to networking, that definitely applies.
Networking is all about making connections with other business owners and people who can positively impact your business, and if you spend the whole time talking about you or your business, you’ll never get the chance to learn what problem they have that you can solve.
Back Bench the Selling
A networking event is not about selling. I repeat, it is not about selling. When you’re at a networking event, curb the selling and focus on the connecting.
At the event is not the time or place for you to sell your products or services. So firm up your elevator pitch so you can give a quick overview of what it is you can do, so you can get to connecting.
So leave the sales pitch at home, and come ready to learn about other people, their business and ask questions!
It may sound cheesy, but taking notes at a networking event is one of the best things you can do. While you’re having a conversation with a new connection, take a few mental notes about the contact and how you can help them.
Once your conversation is over, take a few brief moments to note down who the connection is and what you can do to help them before you move on to the next person. You can do this in a notebook or simply on the back of a business card.
When you get home, transfer your information into your CRM system so you can act on your connections later!
Make a Strategy
Pre-game your event—no, it’s not what you’re thinking—take some time to look up the attendees and learn a tad bit about them (but don’t go too far, you don’t need to know that they just saw Hamilton in New York with aunt Suzie).
Once you have an idea of who is attending, make some decisions on who specifically you want to connect with. Put a handful of people on your list that you know could have a great long-term effect on your business.
You can also set some goals, like:
- Make 10 introductions
- Get contact information from Suzie Smith, Jon Jacobs and Travis Marks (obviously fake names)
- Set up coffee with Karen from ABC Marketing
Your networking goals can be as big or small as you want them to be, but it sure helps to have them.
Don’t Forget to Smile
It seems obvious, but a smile is an understated networking move. When it comes to networking, especially if you’re a bit of an introvert, it’s easy to get caught up and be overtaken with nerves.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember to take a deep breath and smile. Just be yourself and flash your pearly whites and everything will be fine.
What are your best networking tips for entrepreneurs? Share them in the comments below!
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Tae started out as a journalist before following the money into the corporate world. But it turns out that the grass isn’t always greener and now you can find her spending most of her time writing about all the things she loves. Namely, money, travel and business with a hefty dose of self-deprecating humor. She is a podcast fanatic, blogging aficionado and loves to find new ways to turn passions into cold hard cash!