7 Top Tips for Successful Business Networking

7 Top Tips for Successful Business Networking

Do you currently attend business networking events? If not, why not? And if you do, are you really making the most out of your time away from your office?

Successful business networking can often be time consuming but if utilised correctly can prove significantly beneficial. Delivering value by expanding your personal knowledge, the chance to learn from others, and form valuable connections means your opportunities are endless. Follow our tips below for greater success in your business networking activities.

 

Why Should I Network my Business?

Whether you're a start-up or longstanding business, networking provides unlimited value and opportunities for you and your company. In fact, there are more than a handful of reasons why you should be out of your office seat and networking to build a more sustainable business:

  • Generate More Business – Ultimately your main goal is to source new clients. By making sound relationships with your fellow attendees you can drive word-of-mouth recommendations and as a result get better quality leads and referrals.
  • Making Connections – As the age old saying goes, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know”. Any business needs a great source of relevant connections which opens the door to suppliers, business owners, or potential partners. In addition, you are not just tapping into the knowledge of people beyond the network too.
  • Personal Development – Many people find the thought of attending such events daunting. But persevere and you can build your confidence, grow, and learn how to make connections with other business folk.
  • Opportunities - With the right, motivated group there are a host of opportunities. From partnerships, speaking opportunities, and joint ventures to name just a few. You are given the chance to raise your profile, become visible, and build your reputation.

7 Top Tips for Successful Business Networking

For those who are beginning their business networking journey we’ve compiled our top 7 tips for success to help. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it is a great start:

  1. Set Realistic Expectations – Don’t expect to come away with new business after your first event. Set yourself reasonable goals such as, meet 3 new people, or ask to be introduced to one specific person.
  2. Don’t Arrive Late – Not only is this counterproductive but it limits your chances at meeting new people. Arriving on time will mean that people haven’t yet settled into various groups. This quieter time will make it much easier for you to approach new people you'd like to connect with it.
  3. Introduce Yourself to the Organiser – Approach the organiser of the event on arrival. You’ll be able to find out a little more about the event's schedule as well as the organisation as a whole. They can also help point you in the right direction and introduce you to other attendees.
  4. Don’t Stand at the Edge of the Room – Don’t wait around for people to approach you. Start your own conversations. Go prepared with a repertoire of questions you can use; they can be as simple as “What brings you to the event?”, “Did you have to travel far this morning” or “How long have you been attending networking events like this?”
  5. Don’t Dominate the Conversation – The most successful business networkers don’t hog the conversation. Instead  approach the situation as you would a social one with friends. So don't interrupt their conversations or speak continuously about yourself. Avoid handing over your business card and walking away, make others feel you are interested in them and their business.
  6. Avoid Sales Pitches – Networking is primarily about building new relationships which will, in the future, produce recommendations and referrals. So keep your conversation light and informative without hard selling your product or service.
  7. Follow Up – Make it standard practice to touch base with anyone you speak with directly within 48 hours. When ending a conversation ask for the best way to get in touch. Collect business cards and email people you speak to with a summary of your conversation. You may even want to connect via LinkedIn.

We’re Here to Help

We’d love to hear your advice for making the most out of your business networking opportunities. Let us know what you do via our Facebook page.

Posted by Paul Randall
17th May 2016

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