Hello SOTGC Community,
You have been asked to go to a conference and all the right people will be there. You are excited as this is an opportunity for you to meet important contacts that might eventually lead to new business. How do you best approach a networking event and make sure that you walk away with meeting the right people?
Remember, people go to these meetings to learn, but they also go to make connections that are genuine. There is more success when you start to build a relationship with someone than thinking that you are there to sell them something. It is important that a connection is made, so when you do call them at a later date, they remember you. There are 11 simple yet effective ways to network, to build the relationships needed to close the business.
- Don’t be afraid to go up to people and say hello. Everyone is there for the same purpose. Put aside your fears and be friendly. Only set out to make a few good contacts that can make a difference. A few solid contacts is better than a ton of business cards that are not related to your business.
- Be charismatic. Shake their hand and smile when introducing yourself. Eye contact is very important and a firm hand shake will make a good impression.
- After introducing yourself, ask the person you are speaking with something about themself, be engaging and share stories. They will remember that you showed interest in them.
- When asked, “What Do You Do?” Don’t rattle off the typical elevator speech or your title. You will notice their eyes glaze over if you do. Tell them what you do by introducing the benefits of your business versus the features. Let the person self-identify with what you are saying so that they desire more information. The purpose of the elevator speech is to open a dialogue between two people, not to sell that person on the spot.
- Find your authentic voice in your conversation. Say what you do with passion and conviction so you are believed. Let them know that you care. A genuine introduction will help you to increase your visibility and can expand your newsletter and email database.
- State that you would like to stay in contact with them. When you return to your office, send each person you met an email introducing yourself again. This is also an excellent opportunity to request a brief meeting for coffee to take the introduction to the next level.
- Build a relationship so the person will get to know who you are and what you do. This will eventually lead to business. If they do not have a need for your service, there is a chance that they will refer you to a friend or an associate. The purpose is to build trust and make a connection for future growth and sales.
- Stay in touch. Keep an ongoing list of people you meet and record when you make contact. Connecting again with them at least every two to three months is important so when they do have a need, they remember you. Remember, sales are made when someone needs and wants something, not when you want to sell them something. On average it takes five to 12 points of contact for someone to make a sale.
- A great time to reach out to your list again is around the holidays. A simple holiday message will keep you top of mind and show that you care.
- Share links to interesting articles that your contacts would find useful to their business. This is another great way to stay connected. You will be considered a valuable resource.
- Remember to connect with them on Linkedin. Linkedin is a great business resource and a way to stay relevant. Post articles so your contacts can see that you are active in the industry.
Have you used similar tips when you are networking? Let me know, comment below. Try these tips out and you will be on your way to new business. If you are interested in consulting and coaching on effective sales and marketing strategies and improving leadership and career development, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and sign up for Success Tips at Upstream Solutions. Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. You can also check me out on Blog Talk Radio, Coach Chat.