Business networking is a fantastic way to build connections, expand your clientele and develop relationships with people. Unfortunately, though, for most, networking isn’t always at the top of the priority list.
For those who are particularly inclined to be introverted, networking is even less appealing.
Let’s face it, networking is time-consuming, sometimes uncomfortable and awkward and after a long work week, not very inviting.
However, It’s also a crucial part of developing your business or advancing your career. So how do you tackle the social anxieties and be well prepared for networking events?
Network with your happy face on
I think that it’s important that you go into a business networking situation with a face that says “hey I’m friendly – talk to me” You want to be able to engage people with interest, look friendly and relational.
Reality is if you are going to a networking event, you are trying to build a relationship with others to hopefully then get more business. If you present as friendly, people are more than likely going to want to engage you and your services for help in their business.
From having business cards to a little spiel about what you do. Condense what it is your business specialises in a matter of sentences. People don’t really want to know the ins and outs of your business, they want to know the headlines and if they are interested, they will dig deeper
Don’t be intense
At business networking events, there is an opportunity to come over like a hard core sales person. Chill out… have fun. If the conversation goes there then let it. Don’t try and shove your service/product down someone’s throat from the get go, let the natural flow of meeting take it there.
Keep a silent eye out for potential Alliance partners
Alliance partners are those business owners who work in a similar space as you but don’t do what you do i.e. if you are in online marketing and someone else is in website development, there may be an opportunity to align together and refer each other work or you may be able to white label to each other.
Grab their card, do some research about their business and then maybe shoot them through an email with a possibility to meet up. Let’s face it if we can build our business’ by having strong alliances with other business owners let’s take it.
You may not like everyone you meet
There are some conversations that you have with people that just rub you up the wrong way. If this happens in a social setting, imagine how difficult it could get if you were working with/for them. Steer clear of potentially painful clients. You want to work with people who want to work with you.
At the end of the business network evening, you will have a fist full of business cards. The next morning, shoot each person through an individualised email saying how nice it was to speak with them and if you are able to help them in any way it would be a great pleasure.
You could also try and book in a coffee to see if you can take the business relationship to the next level, pending on your conversations with the night before
About Your Guest Blogger: April Parnwell is the Business Development Manager at TheOnlineCo. Anything people, anything new business, anything…. is what she does. April is a pro at business networking and a natural at making connections with just about anyone. She is flexible, relational and endeavors to give Clients the very best personal care whilst helping them build their business.