Ah, networking. When it comes to business, it’s something you just can’t do without. Not only is networking the foundation of any relationship, it’s a profitable way to help businesses generate leads. But, it all boils down to acing a networking event.
In today’s episode of Stay Paid, Josh and Luke break down what to do before, during, and after a networking event to help you find the most success.
- You must prepare for an event
- Your energy can make or break your efforts
- The fortune is in the follow-up
The Importance of Networking
Networking can occur at any moment. From church to the grocery store, you’re networking wherever you go. Sure, a little conversation with a cashier might not seem like much, but it’s the start of a potentially lucrative relationship. And for somebody in relationship-based sales (real estate agents, insurance agents, or a financial advisors), networking is an extremely viable lead source.
But, what happens when you have to attend a formal networking event? Truth be told, these events can lead to an abundance of unwanted anxiety due to the fear of rejection. For some, especially introverts, networking can pose a great challenge. However, in reality, networking is a numbers game. It’s about setting an attainable goal for yourself to ultimately turn newfound relationships into profitable and longstanding deals. Knowing what to do before, during, and after can help you throw your worries aside and make the most out of every event.
Before an Event
Let’s face it: the majority of attendees do not prepare for a networking event. But, in order to have maximum impact, you must come prepared. For starters, you need to determine your impression piece. This will be the takeaway that you’ll give to other event attendees. While business cards are easy to create, they’re not going to separate you from the crowd. Consider providing attendees with something of value like an eBook or a recent blog post.
Next, you must research who else is going to be in attendance. Reach out to the event to see if you can obtain a guest list. Social media (like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram) provides you with the ability to learn about fellow attendees’ lives. The more you know, the better you’ll be at developing appropriate talking points for the event.
Lastly, you have to know what you’re going to say. Instead of thinking of this as your elevator pitch, consider it to be your value proposition: a 30 second description of who you are and what you believe in.
During an Event
We all know that energy plays a large role in business, but did you realize that it’s also an intricate part of networking? Your energy levels control how other people perceive you. However, it’s important to ensure that your energy and passion isn’t mistaken for being aggressive. Try to avoid being too salesl-y, and greet every attendee with a smile.
Your main objective during a networking event is to connect with someone you can help from a business standpoint. In order to do so, you need to learn as much about them as possible. Take notes using Evernote, and determine why an attendee is there and how your products/services can help them. The fastest way to earn a client is by helping someone accomplish a goal.
After an Event
When it comes to networking, the fortune is in the follow-up. It’s crucial that you follow up with each and every one of your new connections. Take the time to connect via social media (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram). Use your notes from the event to leverage a conversation, and begin the process of moving your newfound connections through your funnel. You want to aim to set up a face-to-face appointment. Whether it’s a meeting in your office or at a local coffee shop, meeting in person can help to foster your relationship, and build upon the reciprocity effect. When you take someone to lunch, they’ll feel obligated to do something for you in return, like listen to your sales pitch.
Following the podcast, our goal is to provide you with as many actionable tips as possible. This episode includes…
- Go to a networking event that seems relevant to your industry.
- Do your research, and prepare your 30 second value proposition.
- Use LinkedIn to connect with your new contacts, and message them to invite them to grab coffee.
As always, take action on these tips!