One of the best business tools for small businesses is business networking. It allows you to meet like-minded people. More importantly, it gives you the chance to build professional levels.
Virtual networking has grown in popularity. This means there are many opportunities for small business owners to attend networking events, many of which are completely free. If you’re going to attend an FSB event, then there are a few things you can do to make the most out of it.
1. Have a Strategy in Mind
What do you want to achieve? Do you want more referrals, generate new contacts, and/or learn new skills? Before you make any kind of commitment, you want to make sure the people you meet at the event/events align with your strategy.
2. Create a Pitch
Create a 60-second pitch keeping Bion group dynamics in mind. Ensure your pitch accurately describes your objectives, as well as what your business is all about. It’s a good idea to include your unique selling point and your level of expertise.
Your pitch should be memorable, as this will help you stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, put together testimonials that have been left by real customers. This will make a good impression on those attending the event.
3. Get out of Your Comfort Zone
Don’t gravitate towards those you’re familiar with. Instead, focus on meeting people who are not in your circle. Scan the room once you enter it, and facilitate conversations with people you don’t know.
Keep an eye out for people you aren’t familiar with. Speak to them to get to know them. Remember, at one point they too were new to networking or they may still be new to it.
4. Continue to Attend
Before you actually gain the trust of a group, you’ll need to work on building it up by attending networking events regularly. Networking is all about making connections, fostering them, and growing them. At the start, you might not get any results, but eventually, you could meet one person who opens a dozen doors for you.
5. Listen To Others
Listen to other people at the event. Listen to what their objectives are and figure out if there is a way you can help them via your own network. You might be able to help them by connecting them to a client or a supplier. There could be a chance you can partner up with them.
Listening to others can open doors for you. Make sure you ask open-ended questions, too. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn from other people by listening to them and asking them open-ended questions.
6. Follow-up with People
What you do after the event is more important than what happens during it. You’ll want to do follow-ups. Be proactive when you’re doing them.
You can use social media to connect with those you’ve met at the event. LinkedIn is a good platform to do this. In fact, LinkedIn can serve as your own virtual business card.
During the event, you don’t want to engage in lengthy conversations. This is because you won’t have the chance to meet as many people as you could have met. Simply have separate catch-ups with key people you want to carry on lengthy conversations with.
7. Make Introductions or Referrals
Whenever the opportunity arises, provide the person you’re referring to with a way of getting in touch with your contact. This can be done by providing your social media info, email, or even your phone number. It’s up to you how to do it.