Five ways to nail your marketing efforts
In business, there are many ways you can market your products and services. Attending networking events is one of the least expensive ways you can market and find qualified professionals to partner with.
The challenge is that networking can take a lot of time to do, so I’ve created a list of a few tips over how to be more effective in business networking.
1. Quit wasting your time at the wrong events
Choose the events and venues that best fit your business needs. There are a lot of networking events to choose from. Some groups focus on producing small events with attendance of less than 20 people and others focus on producing events where hundreds attend. Whether you attend small functions or large ones depends on your objective. If you want to meet a variety of people across many different occupational backgrounds, larger events may be for you. Smaller events usually allow everyone to build closer relationships, but there may be only one or two leads for you at smaller events.
You can find a lot of great events on yelp.com and eventbrite.com. Whatever event type you choose, choose an event that has a great reputation online. If you are unable to find reviews for the event online, you attend at your own risk.
Also, choose a venue that has a huge amount of what you’re looking for. If you are looking for targeted leads for your business such as engineering leads for example, you would better off going to an engineering networking group than you would a general mixer since the engineering networking group is flooded with the kinds of things you’re looking for.
2. Get your act together
Make sure you’re prepared. Remember to bring more business cards than you think you’ll need, and bring a pen and a felt tipped marker in case you or someone else needs to write your contact information down. Make sure you have researched your 15 second elevator pitch too.
3. Don’t speak first
Listening is your best sales tool. One of the best techniques for making a sale is asking questions about someone at your networking event and listening for what they do and what challenges they face. As you listen, figure out commonalities between what you have to provide and what kinds of problems they are looking to solve. The more commonalities you have between the both of you, the stronger your connection will become and people connecting with others in a personal way are a lot more open to doing business together.
4. Be smooth
Remember to move on in a polite way. This always happens – you get trapped into a conversation with someone that is no longer of business interest to you. How do you get away? I suggest not spending a lot of time in conversations that aren’t helpful for you to be in. You can always excuse yourself politely with a quick but non-interrupting, “Excuse me, I have to be moving along, it was nice talking to you.” This will help you move along to new conversations quickly.
5. The golden rule
Remember to follow up. After you leave the networking event, send your new connections an email about how much you enjoyed speaking with them, mention where you met just in case they open it up after several days and forget who you are. The sooner you follow up them, the stronger your connection will be, and doing that communicates to the other person that you’re interested in making a quality connection with them.
Photo by Everybody’s Invited In