Everyone knows about Networking events, everyone knows the benefits, but when was the last time you actually went?
I’ve been putting it off for ages now, I was a member of a group a little while ago but it was all a little too forced for my liking. Here is what I’ve learnt about ‘networking’ in the last few months.
- There is a networking group for everyone!!!
Don’t like the 30 second forced introduction? Find a smaller social group. Don’t want to be up at 5am for breakfast? Find an after dinner drinks group. Want something a little more structured? There is a group for that too. Just because the last group you tried didn’t sit with you doesn’t mean you won’t find one!
- Follow the social structure
If this is a social group, please don’t go forcing your business card on everyone. If it’s a group aimed at sharing business cards, don’t hijack one person for the whole night.
- Build the relationships
The greatest benefit you will get from a network is NOT new contacts to force your marketing material on, it’s meeting people and building relationships with them. You’ll learn things from people in your industry, you’ll find new clients, you’ll make friends and those friends will refer you.
Bright Red Marketing!
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No, you’re not going to sell a thousand widgets from shoving your product in people’s faces, but what you do get is a thousand times better. You meet people who love to network, and if they connect with you they will be a better salesperson for you than you could ever be yourself.
- Pay it forward
So perhaps in your first few events you didn’t meet anyone that could help you right now, but can you pass on their details to a friend or colleague, can you put two people in touch that can help each other out? This goodwill goes a long way in these types of events.
- Be yourself
If you go to these events and you try to be someone you aren’t, these people will be able to see right through you. However, if you are a little shy, or lacking confidence – a little “fake it till you make it” won’t hurt! Try and align yourself with a regular – they are pretty good at being able to introduce you to some people!
Don’t forget the people that attend these events are generally very good at reading people, so you may as well be you – they’ll see through the mask pretty quickly.
- Come prepared
While you are meeting new people and talking business and who does what, make sure you have business cards – it’s very hard for someone to follow up and keep in contact if they don’t have a way to remember you. Just don’t go passing out cards to everyone, leaving, and wondering why you aren’t getting any new contacts – the ones that do this well are more interested in building relationships than a once-off sale
- The right event is easier than ever to find
If you have ever thought it was difficult to find a networking event, that has now changed – with the emergence of Meet Up there really is no longer an excuse to not be attending an event. There is an event for everyone! And if there isn’t, why don’t you start one!
My name is Dahna and I’m the founder of Bright Red Marketing. I live and breathe marketing, I can’t see an advertisement without analyzing it, or pass by a Marketing Book without reading it. Most of all I love helping businesses with their marketing and I love to chat.
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