I know the idea of networking sends chills up the spines of many, but attending networking events is not only a great marketing tool but also offers many personal benefits.
The first thing to note though, is people don’t come to networking events to have business cards shoved into their faces at every opportunity. Networking events aren’t about trying to “sell yourself”, networking is about building long-term relationships and a good reputation. Over time you will get to know people and build on the know, like, trust factor and hopefully one day you might find someone in the networking group who needs your services or vice versa.
To build on that, the top 4 benefits of networking are:
1. Exposure – networking gets your business name out there. It all works towards brand awareness and the more people that are aware of your business, the more people who may potentially contact you when the need arises.
2. Increase knowledge – in every experience there is always the opportunity to learn. Not only is there the chance to learn from others, you may find an opportunity to educate someone in your area of expertise.
3. Opportunity for collaborations – you never know who might be in the room. A conversation can lead to connections being formed which may lead to the opportunity for collaboration.
4. Increase business confidence – although networking events are not designed to “sell, sell, sell” you will have the opportunity to practice perfecting the “what do you do?” question. Giving you chance to feel more confident speaking about your business and how you help people.
So now you know some benefits of networking, let’s talk about how to be a better networker.
1. Listen – show great listening skills, remember peoples names, listen to their problems or what struggles they are having in their business. Ask people questions about themselves.
2. Go alone – as scary as going alone to a networking event may be, going alone will force you to talk to people you may not have if you had your wife or husband there.
3. Come prepared – bring some business cards in case you get asked for one. Think of some clear and concise answers to questions people might ask you. Like “what do you do?” or “who do you work for?”. Maybe think about a recent success you would like to share with the people you meet.
4. Follow up – if anyone seemed interested in your business perhaps follow them up the following day with a short note saying, “Lovely to meet you last night, perhaps we can connect on social media or if you ever need xyz you know where to find me”. Note: This is not the time to bombard people with the “sell, sell, sell” either.
The Mundaring Chamber of Commerce hosts many networking events, have a look at our Events page to see what is coming up.