Running a successful business requires a certain amount of charisma. Whether you're naturally charismatic or will 'fake it until you make it', here are 5 tips to get you through those business networking events:
Find local networking groups
You can connect with other businesses and potential clients in a vast number of ways. It's often easier if you find a business networking group. Often these meet every week, or once a month.
Networking groups are usually a chance to meet decision-makers in every industry. You'll get to know people, building important connections whilst promoting your business.
If you find a good group, the other attendees will become your friends. You'll promote their businesses and they'll promote yours because there's mutual respect and support. If you don't get that feeling from your first group, keep trying until you find the one that works.
Have the right marketing materials
It would be absolute madness to attempt networking without a good pack of business cards. Your business cards go home with other people, keeping your business in mind.
Your business card needs to be stylish and eye-catching. It needs to be one that gets noticed in a wallet or desk drawer. It also needs the right information, including a description of your business.
When someone's been mingling for an hour, collecting dozens of business cards, they don't retain all information. If someone saw your card with just your name, business name and contact details, how would they remember what you do? Provide details about your business, showing them what you can offer.
If you're struggling to fit essential information onto a business card, why not staple it to an informative leaflet?
Have a quick pitch
When you're networking, you have very little time to tell people what your business offers. Whether you have introductions at the start of the meeting or need to make a good impression in under 60 seconds, it helps to rehearse a quick pitch.
Aim to talk for less than 30 seconds. In that time you need to say your name, the name of your business and key details about what you're doing. Have a strong unique selling point (USP) for your business, and add something that will make your pitch more memorable. Practice your pitch until it's second nature so that you won't stumble on the day.
Never write anyone off
If someone doesn't seem like a potential client, don't write them off completely. They might surprise you by needing your services, even if you think that they wouldn't.
But, more importantly, every new connection is a link to hundreds of others. Even if they're not interested, they may know someone that is. There's a chance that your business could come up in conversation with a friend 6 months down the line. Make yourself unforgettable, even for those that might never need what you offer.
Have a company uniform
You might think that networking is most effective when you're wearing smart clothing. Most people wear a suit when they're attending networking events. But, a company uniform could be a better option.
A company uniform will make you stand out amongst all the smart suits. It's something different. It's eye-catching. It's also another way to show off your logo, putting a face to a business name.
Make sure that you've chosen professional logo design, before getting your business logo embroidered on shirts. Your uniform should be something that you're proud of, representing your business in the best light.
The next time you attend a networking event, walk in with your head held high. You are the schmoozer. New clients are just moments away.