Business networking and forming connections is an effective strategy to meet potential suppliers and clients. Whether you’re attending formalised networking events, industry gatherings or MeetUp Groups, there is a need to identify the outcomes you and the other participants are seeking.
Align these outcomes so you can deliver mutual value. In speed networking situations, you have a limited time to make an impact, so there is a need to focus on key points and quickly identify how value can be delivered. Other networking opportunities may provide more time for discussion, but there is a need to reach the right participants for your business.
Always remember to bring plenty of business cards. We’ve discussed this previously, but it is always surprising to see people attending a networking event without providing follow up contact details. There may be an allure in being mysterious, but the purpose of networking is to foster connections, not to create mystique. If you do not have business cards, then ensure you have something that includes your contact details.
Know what you want to say and how it should be delivered. The elevator pitch is a bit of a cliche, but it has a purpose. Identify your value proposition and how it would assist participants. Structure the rest of your conversation around your value proposition. In most cases there will be competitors of yours at networking events, so your value proposition should allow you to cut-through and provide something memorable.
Always follow up. Send a quick thank you message to the people you have connected with, and suggest a follow up meeting if applicable. Networking is about fostering connections, so take the time to develop these discussions. Remember people you have connected with previously and speak to them if they attend future events. Maintaining an existing connection is a lot easier than starting anew.
We’re avid networkers at Syneka Marketing and we’ll be attending tonight’s VECCI Speed Networking Event.