It’s a known fact that we do business with people we know, trust and like. The most effective way to meet other business owners is by attending networking events whether it’s a seminar, chamber meeting or cocktail mixer but it’s the follow-up after that can really pay dividends for you.
Building relationships doesn’t happen in a five-minute business card exchange and hand shake though. In order to establish a long lasting relationship with a potential client or referral partner, send an email within the first 24 hours of everyone you took a business card from. Even if you don’t see an immediate connection, just say thanks. And who knows, maybe they can refer someone to you who is a potential client. Never judge a book by it’s cover.
When you follow up with an email or phone call, ask them if you can add them to your newsletter list or to connect on Facebook or LinkedIn. More than likely, they will say yes. This is a powerful way to establish a long-lasting relationship and for them to get to know you better.
To make the most out of networking events, I recommend doing research on upcoming events in your town or city. Create a plan and decide how many times you will attend a networking event during the week or month. There are hundreds of networking events happening daily in your city. A great resource is Meetup.com. I have also compiled a list and you can take a look at it by clicking here: San Francisco Bay Area Networking and Community Events for Women and Men.
To get to the biggest payoff, though, don’t forget to follow up. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time. It’s what you do after the event that can make or break it’s effectiveness for building and establishing a relationship with potential clients and referral partners.
- Show up a little early and greet the other attendees as they walk through the door. This will give you a chance to meet more people. This works especially if your shy or anxious about meeting new people — take it from me as someone who is shy and feels awkward in front of a group of people.
- Bring plenty of business cards with updated contact information printed on them. Don’t cross out phone numbers or email addresses. You can order inexpensive business cards through Vistaprint.com.
- Meet about three to five people having a good connection.
- Make sure your website is working well, it is up to date and it is a good representation of who you are. Chances are some of your contacts will check out your website.
- Thank your host.
- Have fun!
These are just some of my tips. Do you have any tips you would like to share?