Networking events are gathering where people—from entrepreneurs, small business owners, to jobseekers, join together and mingle in order to build business relationships with other people. Although many people attend numerous networking events every year, not all of them truly maximizes the benefit of attending these events.
The reason why these events exist is because in order for business interests to thrive, people must know that you offer particular products and services that they can use. You attend networking events not just to show off, but to meet business people from different industries and get enough exposure.
What networking events are not
The common misconception that people have is that they are about collecting as much business cards as possible. Although it is true that you need a lot of connections in order to deem the event as a success, 30 or 40 cards will do nothing if no one calls you back. Networking events are for collecting connections of quality—meaning that after the event, they will still continue to contact you and not leave your card in a shelf somewhere.
They are not the right place to sell your products. They are places where you can introduce yourself and your company, and not an event where you can conduct sales. If you attend a networking event and expect to make a sale, prepare to be disappointed. Furthermore, attendees of networking events usually do not appreciate sales pitches while in the midst of the gathering.
Networking events as a tool for business success
Networking is more than just giving out business cards or shaking hands with people. It is about building long and lasting relationships with other businesses that are committed to help one another in order to assure success. In networking events, what matters most is the quality of you contacts, and not necessarily the quantity.
Consistency is needed. It is best to belong to a couple of groups, attend those regularly, and be familiar with its members. In exchange, they would be able to recognize you as well and trust you and your brand. Once you build the trust between parties, leads for businesses will follow.
In order to help you, here are a few tips that you can do while in the middle networking events:
· Be prepared
Set a couple of goal for yourself when attending. Think if you’re there for new leads, partners, clients, or services. Once you’re done thinking about what you need, prepare for a pitch that would help you find them.
· Bring your business cards
Bring a lot of business cards and always have one ready to be given. You must also bring a pen in order to make notes to cards that you give and receive.
· Have a short but effective pitch
Have a 15 to 30 second elevator pitch that would help expose and bring interest to your brand. People want to learn about you first before they can trust the product that you’re advertising.
· Have a brochure or website
Since it is necessary for you to meet a lot of people in networking events, you must be prepared with items that could help you make others understand your products more at a shorter length of time. Brochures and websites are useful tools to elaborate on important points for business pitches.
· Be approachable and attentive
Many people are afraid to approach others because of timidity. In order to address that problem, learn how to look approachable and talk to those who seem like they’re interested in you and your product. Afterwards, ask about them. People like to talk about themselves in networking events. This will give them the impression that you are serious about building connections with them and it will increase the likelihood that they will follow-back with their interest.
· Schedule follow-up meetings and try to reach your new contacts
Since people will be receiving an overwhelming amount of business cards during networking events, it is possible that other companies might outshine others when it comes to offers. To assure that your new contact haven’t forgotten about you, contact them right away and schedule follow up meetings in order to discuss about beneficial business relations.
Do not be afraid to go to event after event. You must learn to be patient when it comes to dealing with other business-minded people. Networking events can expand your contacts, and building quality relationships can definitely help your business grow.