Networking – When you Prepare, There’s Gold In Them There Events!
Is networking worth it? Ugh. I hate going to those events. I just mill around meeting people and never come away with business.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s true that a lot of us just don’t know what to do with ourselves when we get to an event. The goal seems to be to connect with people and play the ‘So, what do you do?’ game, hoping that the conversation will lead to business – that you’ll literally ‘bump into’ your next client. Miracles like that happen every so often, but, especially when you’re in the first few years of your business, if you just show up and hope, you’ll leave with nothing accomplished more often than not.
It doesn’t have to be this way! It is possible to come away with business or serious leads for business, from every networking event. Here are some important tips to prepare for success:
Set a clear intent
A good starting point, and a favourite of mine, is to come away with three strong leads. Having this intent in mind will help you stay focused and alert for opportunities in the conversations you have throughout the event.
Know your Call to Action
Before you head out, decide on one or two calls to action that you will propose to potential clients you meet. This may be to sign up for your Newsletter, schedule a Complimentary Consultation call, register for a Workshop or Seminar you have coming up, put the details for your Company Introduction wine and cheese event into their calendar, watch an introductory video link that you’ll send them, or anything else you can think of. The point here is to be prepared ahead of time with an activity that will further the relationship.
Encourage immediate action
Bring it with you! Of course you will leave home fully stocked with business cards, but if that’s all you bring, you’re missing huge potential for immediate results. The best time to get someone to take action is when they are in front of you and feeling a strong connection and/or really aware of how much they need your help. If expanding your email list is a priority, design and bring a sign-up sheet for your newsletter. If you have upcoming events, yes, make sure you have a jazzy flyer that you can hand out – but also bring a sign-up sheet for anyone who is really interested, and make the invitation right then and there.
When you take the time to prepare, there’s gold in there!