Whatever you do in business, wherever you do it, you no doubt have the need to meet other people at some point; prospective clients, contractors, suppliers, trainers, business support organisations and the like. So when was the last time you thought strategically about the network events you attend? And, more importantly, do they bring you the results you need? Let me share my networking strategies:

Strategy #1 – Focus your efforts

Stop wasting time attending events that don't feed a need, and start reaping the rewards from the ones that do. Amongst the myriad of networking opportunities, there'll be a couple that really suit you and give you what you need. Ask yourself these questions to find out how to get more out of your networking:

  1. Prospective Clients - If you network to meet prospective clients, have you considered whether your ideal client type can actually be found at the events you attend? Do you have a written statement of your ideal client type? Where do your competitors meet potential clients?
  2.  Peer Support - Do you network to seek support from your peers? Do you like to bounce ideas off other business people that you know and trust? Then ask around to find out which groups have regular attendance from their core membership so you'll get to know them over time. Business often comes naturally from these relationships.
  3. Professional Support - You can access some really good professional support from attending the right events. Think about which organisations are hosting training events, seminars or conferences that could be attended by the people from whom you need support; business support organisations, banks, accountants, solicitors, consultants and so on.

Strategy #2 - Build rapport with your targets

Don't just jump in for the kill! Here are 5 Top Tips to networking successfully:

  1.  If you're nervous, ask the organisers in advance to introduce you to a couple of people.
  2. Who are you? Prepare a very short introduction, so when asked, you can succinctly tell people what you do so that they understand. Make it interesting so they'll be intrigued.
  3. Use your ears, rather than your mouth. Listen to what people say. You'll get clues from them that will let you know if they might be a prospective customer or not. This way you are qualifying your leads in advance. If they have no use for your bouncy castle hire, for example, then you can save them from half an hour of your patter on the pros and cons of having a kids' party in your back garden.
  4. Take plenty of business cards so they can get in touch with you afterwards.
  5. Be yourself. Your existing clients stay loyal because they like you, they understand your ethics and values, and trust you. It is tempting to be a chameleon at these networking events, to fit in with those around you, but you'll attract more clients and great contacts by staying true to yourself and by remaining passionate about your product or service.

Happy networking!

Article by Janice Ross of Janice Ross Marketing Ltd.

Contact 0191 3755724

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The North East Business Support Fund  has hundreds of registered providers offering a wide range of business support. NBSL has used its best efforts to post on this web site the most accurate and reliable information given to us by our providers but does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information. The thoughts and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and are licensed to NBSL for publication on this website.

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