Though so much business promotional activity is done online these days, face to face meetings still have a valuable place for small companies. When you do attend these events, you want to generate as much enthusiasm and interest from potential customers as possible. While traditional advertising and marketing tend to be faceless, here, you are in front of people explaining to them directly what your company can do for them. So, here are a few ways that you can maximise your opportunities at networking events.
Create an Open Dialogue
Rather than just bombarding people with a sales pitch about your business, you need to give the other people an opportunity to talk as well as actively listening to them. However, it is a delicate balancing act as you still need to get your points across as well. Try to find an innovative and concise way of explaining your company, using examples of other companies that you have worked with in the past. You should be aiming to tailor your explanation to the specific company.
Ensure That You Are Memorable
Since there are so many people attending these events, you need to ensure that you stand out from the crowd. Keep plenty of business cards on you at all times – try out a folding business card for something a bit out of the ordinary. Alternatively, you could hand out stationery or some other branded marketing gift that encourages the people that you meet to keep your business at the forefront of their minds.
Speak to as Many People as Possible
Confidence is so important when you are networking as it really is a numbers game. Of course, you want to build relationships, but you also want to get your face (and the face of your company) in front of as many people as you can. Rather than catching up with people you have met before, you should be aiming to speak to people who you don’t know. The more of these events you attend, the better you will become at mingling.
Nerves Are Natural
A networking event is not exactly the most comfortable of social situations, but most of the people around you will be feeling very nervous as well. Even if you don’t feel all the confident, there is an art to appearing confident which can be learned by anyone. Just remember not to overcompensate by speaking too much and allow others to take the floor as well.
Follow Up with an Email/Phone Call
The follow up is an extremely important part of networking as this is how you will get people to do business with you. A standard email should be sent to everyone that you meet, though you should be aiming to personalise each one just a little so the business owner can see that you are able to meet their needs. A phone call is usually an even better approach, especially for the people you met who showed a visible interest in your company and its services.