Business Networking is the best marketing channel for building. Business networking when used properly can give you remarkable results in a short space of time. I highly recommend business networking if you operating in the business to business marketplace.
What is Business Networking?
My definition of business networking is Relationship Building. In today’s business world, people still only buy from people they know and trust.
Here are 10 tips for business networking success.
- Plan to arrive early
Give yourself time to get settled, scope out the area, find a seat before the event starts, scan the room for the people you want to meet and watch what’s going on. It goes without saying that you don’t want to arrive last as you will find it very difficult to settle down and start networking because the time you will spend trying to catch your breath is crucial networking time as some of these events only last a few hours.
- Attend the event
Your networking opportunity begins when you walk through the front door. So remember to smile and say hello. Remember, you are there to meet people and introduce yourself, your company and the benefits you offer. Remember to enjoy yourself. You need to attend because the more you attend and evaluate yourself the better you will become. Remember to be strategic with the type of event that you attend. If you are targeting business start ups there is no point attending a networking event for business growth and hoping to find clients.
- Put your name tag on your right shoulder
This makes it easy for the person you’re meeting to read your name, because when you shake hands they are looking at your right shoulder. I can guarantee that every person at the event will be wearing their badge on the left shoulder. So be bold and be different.
- Pretend you’re the Host
I’m suggesting that you change your attitude from one of being served and waited upon i.e. a guest, to one of serving others. If you serve people, every person would like to connect with you and if they have a question they will ask you, this will help to increase your visibility at the event. I was attending a dinner and award ceremony recently and a French business man demonstrated how this tip should be executed and the result for him that evening was phenomenal. Just try it next time and see for yourself.
- Approach people you don’t know
Don’t be afraid of strangers. Most of the people at the event will be feeling awkward and insecure. Be the Host introduce yourself to them. When you see someone standing by him or herself, go up to them, smile, say “Hi” and introduce yourself, “My name is .., how are you today?” Then start asking some conversation-generating questions.
- Make yourself approachable
Smile and act as if you’re happy to be there. Stay out in the open. Don’t hide behind tables or stand in a corner. Make it easy for others to come up to you and start a conversation. I always recommend that ladies should dress with a touch of bright colour maybe a bright colourful scarf this will help to make you more approachable Remember why you are there.
- Watch your time – you’re there to mingle
You’re there to mingle and to float around. Your goal is to meet as many people as you can, so try to limit your time to two to three minutes per person. The most popular line you can use to move to the next person is ‘in the spirit of networking I must move on and then move to the next person’. Remember some people there are shy and they do not want to mingle; their company may have sent them there and they are not happy to be there so they will try and corner for the evening.
- Reintroducing yourself to people who don’t remember you
It is OK to reintroduce yourself if the person you are about to talk to has forgotten your name. Just like it is the first time you ever meet them. This happens more frequently than you can envisage because most people are bad with remembering names and sometime this is caused by information overload or tiredness.
- Playing matchmaker: introducing one person to another
You should make efforts to introduce people to others in the room mostly if you have spoke to them previously and this tip has a way of favouring you at the end because the more people you can introduce to each other, the more they will introduce to you simultaneously. This will help you to advance to the next person, so implement it as often as possible.
- Building up your friendship by travelling in pairs
By travelling in pairs you will already put yourself in the mood to network with others but remember to part company when you arrive at the venue because you are there to mingle and you will probably travel back together.