Business is networking—that's not news to you.
You already know that the difference between long term success and the failure of your business depends on you—and the long-lasting partnerships you form early on.
And those partnerships often begin at networking events. You know, those awkward, contrived meetings where they hand out drinks and free business card holders and try to get you to talk to strangers.
They're a blast.
And often, nothing comes out of them.
I hate to tell you this, but for the pros, these things are goldmines—they know exactly how to work the room, find the right people, and begin a relationship that morphs into a long-term contract.
And you can network just like them—you just need a few tricks up your sleeve.
In this article, I will share some of my secrets to turning a networking event into a lead, a sale, or even the partnership that catapults you into the big leagues.
How To Network Like A PRO
When it comes to networking events, no one really started out like a pro—no one even started out feeling extremely confident.
The truth is, some of us just faked it long enough that now we believe it!
Going to a networking event, especially for the first time, can certainly add a little anxiety to the work day. The key is to just relax and have fun.
You’re going to meet some great people, and if you hang in there long enough, you may even be able to begin some relationships.
Here’s a few tips for maximizing your networking efforts:
At every networking event, you’ll have the opportunity to share about your business.
Sometimes it’s a 30-second commercial for the group, but more often it’s a one-on-one conversation.
Since it’s pretty much guaranteed that this will happen, plan for it!
Take 15 minutes to prep before you go to the event. Think about the type of people that will be attending and what problems they may have that you could help with.
Come up with 3 bullet points that cover how you provide solutions to their problems, solutions that are unique to them.
Keep it short and sweet! Then bingo, there’s your business spiel.
2. Bring Goodies
I don’t mean literally pick up baked good—I mean bring something valuable that you can leave with people.
Don’t just leave a plain old flyer or brochure filled with so much text it’s an instant eye sore. Print out a blog post that you think would be interesting to the group, one that aligns with your 3 bullet points from above.
A blog post or article is a great start—if you don’t have one, write one.
3. Have Fun
Remember you’re there to meet other people, so have fun!
You may not say or do the exact right thing every time, but if you at least have fun while you’re doing it, then it’s worth it.
Don’t worry—you’ll get better as time goes on—practice makes perfect (almost anyways!)
While you’re there, consider taking a few pictures and posting them on your social media, and tag people in your posts! This can be a great way to mingle and connect.
Get Out There and Connect with Someone!
Now you’re practically a pro, so start scoping out the next area event—you might just find your next big client there!
Are you a networking pro already? I want to know your secret! What’s your go-to tip for us to become networking pros?