By Perks |
Networking is quickly becoming one of the most powerful tools with regards to client generation. Be this networking online via social media, or offline at events, networking provides an occasion to meet and mingle with other business professionals, all of whom are looking to meet perspective new clients.
At a first thought, networking can be a daunting idea. The demands are tough – you must:
a) Enter into a bar, coffee shop or organized meeting room, often by yourself, without knowing anyone inside.
b) Make conversation with strangers.
c) Be friendly enough so they like you, engaged enough to hold a decent conversation but not too over-friendly so you freak them out.
Tough, eh? But with a bit of practice – it will come naturally. So here are a few do’s and don’ts as to how to best handle these demands…
1) Don’t be afraid to approach people and introduce yourself. This is not a social situation where approaching someone is considered awkward. People are here to talk business – so have courage!
2) Do look at people’s nametags – where they will usually have their name and industry or field.
3) Do have a few ice breaker questions ready. For example, after looking at someone’s name tag, you could then easily say “Hi Mrs X, I see you’re in Finance. What exactly is it you do?” Guaranteed, once they have told you and you have spoken a little bit about it, they will ask you the same… and thus you are in conversation!
4) Do ask questions. No one likes someone who only talks about them self.
5) Do bring business cards. Even if you do not have your own business cards – take a generic one from your company. People expect to exchange cards.
6) Do follow up the next day. Even if the person is not a potential client, it is always good form just to send a quick “Great to meet you, if you ever need anyone in the X, Y, Z business then I’d love to hear from you.”
7) Do have fun! You are out meeting a huge variety of people all at once. They will definitely respond to you better if you look like enjoying yourself.