Do you attend business networking meetings? Yes? Why?
Most people, when asked that question, reply “To meet people I could possibly do business with. ” And yet very often these business people don’t prepare before the meeting or make the most of the meeting itself.
Here are 8 rules for making connections at your business networking meeting…
Before the Meeting
1) Prepare before you attend. Is this the right meeting for you? Will the people attending be either your target prospects or target suppliers?
2) What’s your purpose in attending? Do you want to find 3 new business contacts you can nurture for sales? Or do you need a new supplier for a particular product or service?
3) If possible get an attendee list before the event.
4) Go through the list and mark the people or companies you are interested in, either as a prospect or supplier.
At The Meeting
5) Learn as much as you can about the people you meet (see my article “Networking Meetings - Creating Rapport with People You Meet"). Find out how you can help them to find prospects (you create a feeling of gratitude and they will make more effort to find contacts for you). Ask “Who/what is your ideal customer?"
6) When meeting other business people ask yourself “Do I know anyone who would be a useful contact for this person, as a prospect or supplier?"
7) Introduce people you have met to others you know at the meeting. Make it easier for them to meet people they don't know… again they'll appreciate you and will warm towards you. And, of course, the other person also respects you for your consideration.
8) Collect the business cards of people who you want to create a relationship with; prospect or supplier. Make notes on the cards of the meeting; date & venue, any comments the other person made that could be useful and, if it is not obvious on their card, what their business is.
Remember it is more important to collect cards rather than give yours out. When you collect cards you stay in control because you can make the next contact. If you give your card out, you have to wait for the other person to contact you – and that may never happen.
The next most important activity is what you do after the meeting. Ah, but that's another article ;)…
See “Networking Meetings – After the Meeting"
©2005 Original Work by Carol Bentley
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