The Do’s And Don’ts Of Successful Business Networking
There are many ways to market your business.
You could send out flyers to the homes and businesses in your area. You might pay for expensive television and radio ads to help you get your message across. And you might use email, social media, and your website when focussing your attention on digital marketing.
However, one of the best ways to market your business, be that to customers, clients, or potential investors, is to build relationships through business networking. This is an effective offline marketing technique that is almost guaranteed to win people over to your side and is generally cheaper than other marketing methods. We say ‘almost guaranteed,’ because to ensure success; there are some do’s and don’ts that are worth adhering to.
Don’t attend meetings that are irrelevant to your business
Networking events include trade shows, business conferences, and community gatherings. So, when looking at what to add to your calendar for the year, there are bound to be more than a few opportunities for you to get out and meet the people who could benefit your business. However, despite the lure of free food and an opportunity to get out of the office for the day, you don’t want to waste your time by attending those events that are largely unrelated to your business, so do your research first. You’re a busy person, after all, so only schedule in those meetings that have a greater chance of bearing fruit for your business.
Do consider holding an event of your own
As a follow on from the previous point, you can ensure greater success by holding an event of your own. This way, you have a greater chance of meeting the people who matter to your business because for the most part, you are in control of who does and who doesn’t attend. So, you might invite your existing customers to a new product launch, for example, as they are more likely to buy into whatever you are selling. Or you might organise a conference or trade show that has particular significance for the industry you are involved in. This might then attract potential clients and investors who have an interest in what is on offer at your event. Of course, event planning takes a lot of time and effort, so you might balk at the idea of holding an event of your own. But considering the benefits to your business, you shouldn’t overlook the possibility, so gather people around you to help and use online software akin to this free event management solution to make your life a little easier in the planning stages.
Don’t be a wallflower
We aren’t all adept at introducing ourselves and making conversation with others. So, for some people, attending a business event could be a nerve-wracking experience. However, after having made the effort to attend, the last thing you want to do is hover in the corner in fear of talking to others. While you might have one or two conversations with people who have taken the time to approach and talk to you, you should still get yourself out into the throng of people attending to raise your profile and promote your business. Check out these conversation-starting tips if you consider yourself weak in this area.
Do give others the chance to speak
Of course, starting a conversation might not be difficult for you at all. You might be bubbling with confidence, and that’s great news. However, you need to remember that, despite your enthusiasm, you are at the networking event to build relationships. If you are pushy with your business cards, and if it’s clear you care only about your agenda, then you might well alienate the very people you are trying to reach. Be mindful then, and show that you are interested in what other people have to say through active listening techniques, and take the opportunity to speak only when it is appropriate to do so. People are generally more willing to listen to others when they feel respected, so let this be your approach with every person you come into contact with at the business meeting.
Don’t forget your business cards
While you shouldn’t be pushy with your business cards (as previously mentioned), you should still have them on your person. You can then hand them out to any person who has shown an interest in what you have to say, and they will then have information to hand to get back in touch with you at a later date. The business card should also include your website address, so even if no further conversations are needed, people will still have the opportunity to buy your product or use your service if they choose to.
In business, personal connections matter, so despite your busyness, do find the relevant opportunities to network with others. Consider our suggestions to give you greater opportunities for success, and if you have any other useful tips for our readers, please do feel free to share them with us.