Attending networking events can be absolutely daunting at times.
I, like many entrepreneurs, did not like using this marketing technique one bit. A lot of networking events can be aggressive and exhausting. I use to literally feel sick every time I went to a networking event. I am talking headaches, sweaty palms and knots in my stomach. And to top it off, I never received any good leads. What was I doing wrong?
I wasn’t approaching the networking scene authentically. Actually, I didn’t have a clue how to network. After many failed attempts, I decided to design my own techniques according to what feels right in my heart.
Networking doesn’t have to be a grueling chore. In fact, you may find that you will want to go more often after developing your first few relationships.
Check out some of my networking tips that helped me through the process.
- Turn your Network into a Hang-Out – Stop going to so many networking events. If the audience is mostly your colleagues and not your target, than you may be wasting your time if you are networking to build your clientele. Find out where your perfect client is really hanging out at. Make sure it is a place where you share common interests. Schedule to hang out with your perfect clients according to how many paid clients you want to receive on a monthly basis.
- Mindset Preparations – Always be prepared mentally before attending any networking event. Leave the stress, anxiety, late mortgage payments, and BFF issues at the door. Clear your mind, breathe and smile. This is no time to pour your personal issues into an event surrounded by your perfect clients.
- Elevator Speech – Know who you are talking to. Prepare 2 speeches: a 2 minute speech for speaking with someone one-on-one and a 30 second elevator speech for speaking in front of an audience. Practice, practice, practice.
- The Gift of Giving – Make a list of possible items to give for FREE when you connect with your perfect clients. Gifts can be a free consultation, recommended marketing book, an article you read, or a referral.
- It’s Your Party – Remember that this event is for you…and about 50 other business people. Don’t be nervous; just make it your party. Introduce yourself, smile and say hello when you see someone who is alone. When you help yourself get rid of the jitters, you, in turn, can help someone else to ease the same feeling.
- Be Present – Stop worrying about what is on the snack table or who is speaking next to you. Treat others [entrepreneurs] like you want to be treated. Be present and polite. Mind your manners at all times. And listen.
- Dress for Success – You are going through an interview process; therefore you should dress like you really want the job. Interview? Yes. You are interviewing your perfect client to see if you want to work with them and they are interviewing you to see if they want to work with you. Showing up at a networking event looking like you don’t care about what you wear, lets your perfect client believe that you don’t care about your work, or having them as a client.
- Relationships – Don’t be tagged as the business card snatcher. Go with the mindset that you are there to develop 3 solid authentic relationships. Set up your follow-up appointments at the event.
- Follow-up – This is a step that a lot of entrepreneurs continue to miss. Always follow-up with a “thank you” and “nice meeting you.” You are thanking them for their time even if there wasn’t an actual connection. Who knows…this business contact may have a referral for you in the future. Do not just follow up once. Make a follow-up schedule for your perfect clients so you will always be in their head.
- Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin. You will find that you can attract more of your perfect clients when you are being who you are.
Taking some time to develop your networking strategy will ensure an effective outcome at your networking events.
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. — Milton Berle
Now, tell us your what pet peeves you have about networking events in the comment section below.