You should be getting business if you’re networking the right way.
Ever get the feeling that you might scream if you have to go to another networking event? Do you go because you feel that you should and leave wondering why you went to that networking event? It can be downright exhausting to spend time at networking events and not get business. That shouldn’t be what happens at networking events if you follow some basic principles. Let’s review the don’ts first:
- Don’t go if you are tired, in a bad mood or just plain pissy
- Don’t run around to a million different events each month
- Don’t give out your business card to everyone you happen to be standing next to
- Don’t take a business card from everyone you happen to be standing next to
- Don’t spend 20 minutes talking to someone who has never asked you how you get your clients
- Don’t have too many cocktails – if an evening event, you probably haven’t eaten since lunch – common sense
Any of those networking “don’ts” resonate with you? Networking events are great because there is no substitution for meeting someone face-to-face, shaking their hand and having eye contact. That being said, there is a way to make networking productive, fun and profitable. Here’s some do’s:
- Do go with the intention of making 2 or 3 great connections
- Do pick 2 or 3 networking events that you can be consistent with and get to know the people who go
- Do approach people and begin the conversation with two questions, “What do you do?” “How do you market your business?”
- Do LISTEN and see if you can make an introduction for someone based on what they tell you
- Do excuse yourself to go to the restroom or to talk to someone else if the conversation is all one-sided. In other words, they have answered your questions and never asked about your business.
- Do take someone with you and “tag team” networking. It is often easier to talk about someone else than about yourself.
- Do keep your business cards in one pocket and the cards you get in another. Or for us ladies, if you aren’t wearing something with pockets, use different sections of your purse. It’s annoying to reach in and give out someone else’s business card when you meant to give out yours.
- Do shake hands like you mean it. Listen up ladies, a firm grip please.
- Do wear your name tag on the right so when you shake hands, your name is associated with your face.
- Do ask people if you can follow up with them and how they prefer to be communicated with – some will say LinkedIn, Facebook, text, email, you name it
- Do follow up – if they are a possible client OR if they are a great referral partner – invite them to coffee
Networking is a great way to expand your visibility and credibility. It can be fun and you will establish relationships with people that can bring you business, become clients and/or social connections. Networking events and referral groups are often two different things. We will look at referral groups in an upcoming blog.
Wear a smile and go have some fun networking.