Networking – the process of passing along information and building connections – has long been a way for many individuals to land jobs and for businesses to find talented employees and expand their customer base. Networking events are opportunities to gather and share information with the potential to increase your success.
Importance and Benefits of Networking Events
The reasons why networking events are so important for your small business overlap significantly with the benefits the events can offer. Networking lets you introduce yourself and your brand, and they can expose more people and other companies to the goods you sell or the services you can provide. These introductions are vital. You open yourself up to a much larger potential customer base, and you may also make connections with potential employees, collaborators, or benefactors who can help you in your pursuit of growth.
These networking events can also connect you with resource outlets for your business. The people and companies you meet at networking events could provide you with new materials for goods in your product lineup, storage space for your inventory, or even expertise with marketing. In many cases, the relationships you initiate at a networking event have the potential to lead to special deals and discounts. While these are just a few examples of the possible opportunities, each one may ultimately help boost your business’s bottom line and thus boost the overall success of your company.
Tips and Tricks for Networking Success
A successful networking experience starts with adequate preparation before you attend each networking event. Practice running through a sales pitch for your brand. It’s important to be able to pitch your company succinctly to new connections while remaining genuine. Highlight the major selling points, such as the factors that make your goods or services unique. Have business cards, marketing material, and other contact information ready to take to the event. Bring along one or two sample products to show off. If, for example, you sell custom-made bracelets with unique gemstones, wear them to the event, making sure your outfit and other accessories accentuate and draw attention to the bracelets you’re building your brand on.
During the event, keep your initial interactions under 30 seconds or so. During these initial conversations, you need to cover who you are, what you’re selling, and perhaps most importantly, what you’re looking for. If you can’t communicate clearly enough to tell people what you want, need, or are looking to get out of this event, you’re not likely to leave with the connections that will be necessary to help you get it. The key is to initiate exchanges in an assertive way that indicates you are passionate, but not pushy. Don’t be discouraged when people say they can’t offer you what you’re looking for. In many cases, they can’t – but they may know someone who can.