When you think about your motives for attending a networking event, it often comes down to selling. However, it doesn’t – and shouldn’t, always be about the sale. Remember that in the end, people choose to do business with people they know, like, and trust.
Here are ways to build a more giving relationship with the people you meet, while becoming a better networker.
Make it a give and not a get. Work on building relationships instead of solely focusing on trying to sell your business. There is no substitute for communicating effectively by listening carefully and engaging with the person you are interacting with at a networking event. If someone states something that they need, think about how you might be able to help them. For example, you can offer to help by giving them a business card and say, “I know someone who might be able to help you. Call me and I’d be happy to make the introduction.” If this person calls you, that’s the beginning of a business relationship.
Follow up after your meeting. Did you know that up to 80% of people who receive a business card at an event do not follow up? You should always follow up on an interaction, even if you feel that it’s “too late”. Just remember to keep in mind that it’s important to know what you want and what you’re going to say when you do follow-up.
Continue to show up for people. Do your best to build lasting relationships. While you won’t be emailing new contacts on a weekly basis, you can make notes about them: on how and where you met, any common interests, birthdays, etc. Also, make sure you’re not immediately asking for a favor when you contact someone. Stay in touch and remember that with social media, it’s now easier than even to stay in touch with the people you meet at any networking opportunity.
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