- Prepare- Most network event organisers will send through an attendees list prior to the event itself, so ensure you look through it and make a bee-line for those who will be relevant to you to chat to initially, you can always ask the organiser to introduce you to someone in particular if you think that will help break the ice.
- Know Your Market- Only you know what your target demographic is for your business, so aim for network events that you know are going to contain some of those industries relevant to you and ensure that you speak to them.
- Have a Secret Target- Set yourself a goal for example “I am going to have three good conversations” it is about quality not quantity, the best networker was never the one who scanned the room trying to get as many business cards as they could in the allocated time- it is not a race- Be the tortoise not the hare.
- Build Relationships- People so often forget that networking is a much more drawn out process of generating business. It is rare you are ever going to ‘land’ a deal with someone you have only just met- it is about ‘building relationships’ and trust with that person before they will even consider you as a potential supplier- REMEMBER- People buy people so the more genuine, professional and appealing you are as a character, the more likely you are to be remembered when that person needs the service you provide.
- Enjoy it- What is the point in taking time out of your busy life –out of choice, if you are not going to enjoy it? Choose events that you think you will enjoy and make the most out of the ones that didn’t quite meet your expectations, you don’t have to go back, but the point is you tried.
- Follow Up- ALWAYS follow up with the contacts you made at a network event, even if you don’t think that they were relevant to you at the time- you never know who they know or what they may be able to help with in the future.
Fiona Duncan, RSViP Business Network – http://www.rsvipnetwork.co.uk