Business Networking is a very powerful way to get your business moving. Whether a startup or an established business, if you are looking for new ways to generate business and increase awareness about what you do business networking is, in our books, the number 1 method.
But if you’ve never done it before how do you get started?
We at Orange Pixel make no secret of the fact that for the first 2 years of our existence over 80% of our website customers found us through our networking activities and even now, as we have expanded into other areas of marketing, we invest a lot of time in our networking activities
People buy from people
It’s an old saying but so true. Networking is the perfect place to establish and build relationships with like-minded local business people. Some may have a need for your product and service but don’t bank on it. The real target is to get people talking about you to their contacts and customers.
5 Top tips to get started with business networking
- Get there first
This is our favourite tip for the new networker, particularly if you are a bit nervous about it all. If you get there first those coming in on time will naturally gravitate towards you (and sometimes even assume that you are the organiser!). This makes it far easier to introduce yourself and start conversation flowing
All networking events have different formats so it’s a great idea to at least have some idea of what’s in store. Look at the website, even call the organiser and ask questions. If you’re expected to stand up and introduce yourself to the group as a whole then get something ready in advance (more on this in another post soon)
- Don’t Sell
Networking is all about relationship – not sales. If you have a product or service that’s relevant you will probably make a sale but not if all you do is try to push it on people. It may seem counterintuitive but trust me, you will sell more by “selling” less!
Another old saying “You have two ears and one mouth – use them in that proportion” applies very well to any networking situation. Have you ever been stuck with someone at a party who just keeps banging on about themselves and won’t let you get a word in edgeways? It’s not nice is it?! You will get a whole lot more out of your networking experience if you are ready to listen and open to learn from people who have been there before.
- Carry on the conversation
After the meeting don’t just go back to the office and throw the business cards into a drawer. You will very likely have started relationships with a few people so carry it on. Connect on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Twitter (any or all depending on your choice of social media). Send an email saying that you enjoyed your conversation, maybe even invite them for a coffee sometime, even add them to your contact database (but don’t start spamming with impersonal irrelevant email)
We love networking and we have found that the format and atmosphere of a 4 Networking meeting suits us very well. They have a very powerful formula that makes it extremely easy to get started.
It’s a breakfast meeting, from 8am – 10am and costs £12. You can visit up to 3 times without joining. In our experience you are always made to feel very welcome and there are always experienced networkers around who will guide you through the event.
If you are based on the South Coast (we do web design in Hampshire) and would like to come and meet us out networking, drop us an email or call and we’ll get you booked in and make it all really easy for you. We regularly attend at Portsmouth, Fareham, Petersfield, Chichester and Worthing.
See the 4 Networking website for more details.