Days Love Business EXPO 2021

Network like a pro with Love Business’ top networking tips

Whether you’re an events rookie or a seasoned pro, networking can be a hard slog.

For many business people, networking is something they know they should be doing, but dread it so much that they never actually do it.

Pacing a room, trying to strike up a conversation with complete strangers and sell ourselves and our business is a tough ask, even for the most confident of people.

It can push us right out of our comfort zone to the point where we convince ourselves it’s a bad idea and just avoid it all together.

Yet, when done properly, with a proper plan and some key objectives in mind, networking can be one of the most effective ways of growing your business and making key contacts with potential new customers.

The old saying that the best business is done face-to-face still rings true.

Although social media and digital marketing are important, and are great for making connections and developing relationships with people from anywhere in the world, people still buy from people, which is why you can’t beat a bit of networking to keep the wheels of commerce turning.

So, if you’ve decided to take the plunge, have given up your time to attend a networking event and have armed yourself with enough business cards to build a pyramid, how do you ensure you make the most of the opportunity? Here are our top tips:

Always have a plan

It always helps to have a plan of attack and some goals in mind for when you attend a networking event. A bit of background research will stand you in good stead and make sure you invest your time wisely.

It’s worth finding out the type of people that go to your chosen event and if they are your ideal  target audience. If you can get hold of the delegate list before you go, then great, as you can have in mind a list of people you’d like to speak to.

It’s also a good idea to think about what you want to achieve from the event, so you can measure it’s success.

Set yourself a target, such as ‘I’d like to speak to the business development managers of two companies I’ve not dealt with before’ before you go. If you manage to connect with them, that’s a win, right?

Practice your elevator pitch

The primary purpose of a business networking event is to make new connections that will help your business grow, so you need to be able to create a great first impression of both yourself and your business.

Although small talk and the art of making conversation are important to build rapport and trust when networking, if you aren’t able to clearly articulate who you are, what your business does and why you’d like to speak with your new connection, there’s really no point in speaking with them.

So, get your elevator pitch nailed. Write it down. Practice it in the mirror and to friends and family until it’s perfect.

It shouldn’t be too difficult. You’ll be passionate about your business, so be yourself, let it show and people will respond to you.

Stand by the refreshments table

If you’re a nervous networker or don’t like approaching people cold, then try standing next to the drinks table.

It’s where people will naturally gravitate as soon as they enter the room, giving you more opportunity to open a conversation with them naturally (try asking ‘would you like the milk or sugar?’ as a starter for ten) than going in cold and giving them the hard sell straight away.

The one in three rule

You may be an ardent networker who goes to the same event or group every month. If that works for you and you get loads of connections and business, then great, keep it up.

But what if it doesn’t work? Should you carry on investing time in an event that gives little back in return, or that the same people go to month in, month out?

Only you can decide if a particular event is ultimately going to work for you, but if you’re not sure, try the one in three rule and go to one event in every three instead.

That way, you’re not wasting precious time every single month attending an event that you may or may not get something from, but you are keeping up appearances by staying connected with the event and the people that attend.

Remember, it’s not just about doing business with the people you meet – they may be able to refer you on to their own contacts once they get to know and trust you.

Follow-up with your new connections

You’ve gone to all the effort to get out of your comfort zone, push yourself to approach someone new and make a connection with them, so it would be a shame to waste the opportunity.

So, the golden rule of networking is to always follow up with your new connections.

If you have their business card, drop them a line to say it was nice to meet them.

Connect with them on LinkedIn and like or comment on a few of their posts to keep your engagement with them going.

If you promised to do something specific, like send them information or set up a meeting, then make sure you deliver.

Remember, if you’re not going to follow it up, then there is little point in networking.  

Have you booked your place at Love Business 2020 yet?

So, there you have it, a checklist of simple steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of the networking events you attend.

With these in mind, why not visit the region's biggest and best business event?

Love Business takes place at Holywell Park Conference Centre, on 27 February 2020, and is the ideal place to make new contacts and create opportunities.

To register for your free delegate pass, click here.

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