It’s great to get out of the office and meet with like-minded individuals with the prospect of finding suppliers, customers or collaborators. It is not just a jolly to see and speak with other humans; you must have a plan when you go networking, something to prepare for. There are a few things that can really help you to make it a productive time and where you can grow your business with the help of others. Finding a better, more affordable supplier is sometimes far better than finding a new client or even the opportunity to work with someone else and pool your knowledge/skills to deliver a great new service.

Here’s 5 Tips to get more from your Networking.

Marketing Materials

Be proud of your business cards, leaflets, banner and promotional materials. This is what you will be leaving behind to represent you – so get the best you can. An image always goes down well on your cards too – as long as it looks like you!

Smile

A welcoming smile is infectious – who wants to talk to Mrs Grumpy? Ensure you are also not Mrs Moany – be upbeat and happy. After all it’s only for a couple of hours!

Ask Questions

Be prepared to be interested in others. Asking questions and finding out all about their business, the meeting you’re at as well as the more personal stuff such as holidays, family if it arises. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and it helps you to see what problems you can solve.

Follow Up

Communicate with those you have met, missed and especially those you’d like to work with in some way. Even arrange 1-2-1’s if appropriate. Add to mailing lists (with permission) to keep in touch and to top of mind.

Record

Use a way of storing their details and any relevant information. A simple spreadsheet or an all singing all dancing CRM system. What works for you. Even filing your emails in a special folder called Prospects; for those ones you wish to pursue.

 

Have fun – it isn’t supposed to be hard work or scary. It’s just conversations with other business owners.

 

I’d love to hear your experiences – good and bad – from networking – has it changed over time?

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