Are you in a position or profession that requires you to attend business networking events? Some of us look at networking events as an opportunity, while many of us see it as a “necessary evil” to accomplish a goal. In either case, here are some ideas about how to make the most of a networking event, while simultaneously increasing your comfort level and effectiveness.
Business Networking Event Tips
1.Prepare for the networking event
When possible, prepare a plan of attack before you arrive. Find out who will be attending and target your best prospects. Find out a bit about the individual or their company to show your interest in developing a relationship with them and or suggesting how you may be a good fit for each other. For example, if you were looking for businesses who might find a loan useful, you could look at their business model to determine whether a working capital loan or a merchant cash advance would work best for them, this way your conversation with them is relevant and appropriate.
You may not be able to dig in to this much detail at every event, but take advantage of the information provided to you beforehand – and reach out to event organizers to see what they are able to share.
2.Create an organized and prioritized contact list
Having a contact list handy for your business networking event will save you time having to figure out who you should talk to. Once you’ve identified who you want to speak with, divide your list of contacts into levels, A, B and C and then work the room accordingly.
Those individuals that you most want to meet and establish a relationship with. Make it a goal to meet all of these before the event ends. Always exchange contact information to follow-up with them personally or place them into an automated sales and marketing funnel.
Level B contacts are important, but may not be as important as Level A contacts for a variety of reasons (their business is located out of state, your missions don’t align, they’re in a different industry, etc.) Meet as many of them as time permits with the same goal of following up.
Level C contacts are people who you perceive as providing some value, but not to the degree of A and B contacts. Seek these contacts out only after you’ve exhausted your efforts with the first 2 groups.
3.Prepare some questions
When you engage a new contact here are a few questions to consider:
- What company are you with?
- What do you do there?
- What kinds of projects are you working on right now?
- What are some of the things you look for in a business partner?
- Are there any big changes coming to your company in the foreseeable future?
- How would I know if someone I’m talking to would be a good referral for you or your company?
By asking these questions you’ll be the most interesting person they speak to at the business networking event! This is because you showed an interest in them first, instead of leading with who you are and what you want to promote. After answering your questions, they’ll almost always ask about you and your business (out of courtesy or interest) and then you can share your information with them.
You’ll likely run into other people you know at these types of networking events – friends, business associates, current client/customers – and it’s always a great way to catch up and strengthen those relationships. Be friendly and professional, but make sure to focus on your primary goal of building new relationships.
Interested in information on how new funding may help your business grow to the next level? Give us a call at 855-326-3564 – or email us at info@MulliganFunding.com with any questions. We’re happy to help you from step 1 of your research through to a long term plan.
Adapted from post originally written for Business2Community
*The information shared is intended to be used for informational purposes only and you should independently research and verify.