Attending business networking events is a great way to meet like-minded local business people and get your business’ name out there. You never know who you might meet networking, so always make sure you get the most out of these events by following our simple business networking tips.
Before you head to an event…
Make sure the networking event is relevant to your industry
If you want to start attending more business networking events this year, make sure to do your research before you pack your business cards and go! You should make sure the event is relevant to your business and that it would be worth investing your time in. St Helens Chamber regularly hold networking events which attract local businesses from many industries; from marketing to manufacturing, so you’ll never be short of someone relevant to your business to make connections with!
Pack your Business Cards
Make sure you bring more business cards than you think you’ll need to make sure that getting in touch with you is as easy as possible. Attendees at networking events will have spoken to many different people and will probably be too busy or could forget to search for your details online, so make it as easy as possible for them by handing over everything they need to reach you on a professional business card.
Prepare your pitch
At the beginning of some networking events (like our business breakfasts!) attendees introduce themselves with a short summary of who they are and what their business can offer. Make sure you’re prepared for this by practising a short sales pitch – this should be succinct and include the main points you want people in the room to know about your business in a short, 30 second summary.
Listen carefully to others pitches too, this could provide useful insight into who you should be networking with; making notes of anything you found interesting about their business will help you start conversations later too.
Dress to impress
Make the best impression possible by dressing smartly and professionally to any networking event. Wearing something you feel great in will help increase your confidence in what can be an uncomfortable situation. Presenting as smartly dressed will also give off a good impression of how you do business, which is ideal for networking events which often only give you a short amount of time to make an impression.
While you’re at the event…
Starting a conversation with a stranger may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be! Simply approaching someone with a smile, firm handshake and introduction of yourself and your business is a great way to get started. People at business networking events are there for the same reason, so will be open to you coming over and chatting to them, they will probably even be glad you made the first move!
Doing your homework on other attendees (if you know who they are in advance) will help you with your conversations; people love to talk about themselves, so asking them about their new client or latest achievement will go a long way in helping create meaningful connections.
Create opportunities through networking
Ask questions about people’s businesses and listen carefully to what they say; there may be opportunities for your business to provide a solution for them. Coming across too self-promotional may put people off, so make sure any recommendations you’re making regarding your services are matched to their needs.
Try not to speak only to the people you think could benefit you the most. Quite often the people who provide the most value are unexpected and might not have been your initial targets. You may think you and an attendee from another industry won't have anything to offer each other, but in reality you may both have connections of value to the other; so always attend networking events with an open mind.
After the event…
If you’ve met someone at a networking event and you think you could have a valuable connection, make sure you follow up with a quick email or note so they have your contact details and your conversation stays fresh in their minds.
If you’ve spoken to quite a few people while networking note down on the back of their business cards a couple of main points of your conversation, making sure you can pick up where you left off and send over any information promised; delivering on anything promised in a conversation is important to show your reliability and cement the relationship.
Book another event and make more connections!
St Helens Chamber offers a wealth of networking events, some are even free for Members! These events attract many different businesses and you never know who you might meet and what opportunities could arise; we’ve seen valuable contracts being won over breakfast networking!
So book your next networking event today or in touch on 01744 742028 or firstname.lastname@example.org