Our CPM team attends several events every year, and as is the nature of networking at such events, we meet hundreds of people from varied industries. During these events, we try to capitalize on the opportunity to broaden our network of potential customers and to see if they will ever need our services.
What are the key components to networking with intent? What should you prepare for before going into an event with the intention of marketing your company? What are good conversation topics and what makes a good elevator pitch?
Professional networking should be fun – and done with a purpose. Developing relationships, both for business and your personal life could have a lasting impact. Here are a couple of tips to encourage great, and maybe even prosperous, networking interactions:
Check the Guest List
If you know other attendees at the event, leverage their connections to widen yours! Catch up with them on how they’re doing and how their business is doing, but also see if they can introduce you to other people you don’t currently know, or who may need your services.
After that, try to break out of your comfort circle and meet a couple of people you don’t know. Having a familiar connection as a conversation starter for an interested business contact is a great way of meeting people and adding to your business network. You’ll never know what kind of people you’ll find!
Have a Pen and Notepad Handy
Oftentimes during networking events, you’ll meet with dozens of people. The chances are high you may forget some! Keep a small pen and notebook handy so you can write down any names or email addresses of promising customers.
Keeping notes on your phone or a tablet is a good alternative if you don’t have a pen and paper, but writing things down helps you remember information better, so you’ll be able to recall a conversation or a person’s name much quicker than if you simply shared their contact info on your phone.
Don’t Forget Business Cards
While you’ll be networking with many event attendees from different businesses, you don’t want any potential clients to forget you either. Make sure you have plenty of business cards available so you can quickly provide your contact information.
You never know if these networking opportunities will yield new business opportunities or want to request your services in the future. If you did happen to forget your cards, remember that your smartphone is also a simple way to stay connected.
Remember to Follow Up After the Event
Following-up with your connections after attending the event is the most important part of networking. If you don’t follow-up and nurture your connections early on, they may be lost prematurely. Sending a personalized follow-up email a day or two after the event with just a simple “thank you” is the first step to nurturing a good business relationship. While online social interactions are convenient, they aren’t a substitution for face-to-face personal contact. Remember to take the time to network with people over lunch or coffee too!
Research shows that people who have a great network are more influential than people who don’t. By networking with other people, it’s much easier to influence each other with great ideas, share experiences and build lasting relationships – both personal and professional.
If you’re heading to a networking event soon, be sure to keep a few of these tips in mind. Nurturing the business relationships you create with people in various industries is a great way to increase your network and to ensure that you and your business are top of mind after a networking event.