A networking event is a great way for you to meet new people in a non-selling capacity.
The key to networking success is to avoid selling directly. The best networkers are always friendly, relaxed and very keen to ask questions about other businesses. This is because they are concentrating on getting to know the right contacts to give their business card to and follow up with later, rather than directing every conversation towards a sales pitch.
If you are struggling to achieve anything worthwhile from your networking activities, here are a few tips to help you on your way. Firstly, don’t stretch yourself too thin by spending all your free time attending networking events. At the beginning of each month select a few events that are most likely to put you in touch with key people in your industry and concentrate on only attending these.
Remember that you are there to build relationships and not simply to hand out your business card. People really like it when other people are interested in them and what they have to say, so listen and engage with others to instantly build a rapport with them.
Make sure that you have a polished thirty second sales pitch prepared in case people ask about your business, but don’t corner or pester people who don’t seem interested. Try to manage your time sensibly and don’t spend all evening talking to one contact – don’t forget that you are at a networking event and not just having a pleasant conversation!