In Network Marketing it is a good idea to have a clear definition of what you want to accomplish, that means set a goal. If you don't know what you are looking for then you probably will not be able to find it. Do you want to let people know about your business, or find out about other folks and what their business is. If you are just starting, one new contact may be your goal, remember every journey starts with a step.
See if you can find out who is attending. If you can, research their company in terms of company demographics. This will help in your discussion with them because everyone loves to talk about themselves. On the other hand you may not know who, so have some prepared questions that may break the ice to get acquainted.
Set a time limit for yourself. You do not want to spend the entire time with only one person. That person you are talking to may want to move on to other people so don't be the anchor and always think of the referral for the business that meets the needs of others you may know. Think of the differences and similarities between your business and theirs. Do you have complementary businesses or do you serve the same type of customers?
What is your offer for the event? Will everyone receive the offer or just a select few at the event, perhaps a specific business type? Know this in advance and have a clearly defined plan and you will succeed more often.
Can you tell a one minute story about your business? Everyone loves a story, but make it short and memorable. Sometimes you will find mixers set up speed dating style (speed networking) with a three to five minute restrictions for talking with people. Think of a one-minute story you can tell to help that person remember you, your business, and want to connect with you again. See if you can get your story into a one sentence statement that asks a question or engages the other person in some way.
Remember, networking is not the end-all to sales and marketing, it is only the beginning. Your success is all about follow up and nothing about making a sale. Your objective needs to be centered on building a group of friends that can be mutually beneficial in both your business and social life. To get the most out of any networking event, is to follow up within a reasonable period of time with any of the potentially key connections you've made. If you don't reach out, you've wasted your time.
It is also important to track your results. Everything you do to market your business should be measureable. Do something simple like a spreadsheet with contact names on it. Include the location, event name and date. Keep track of the number of times you have been in contact with the person, the objective of the contact and the results. If it can be measured you can improve the results. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself for each event. How many people did you connect with? How many cards did you collect? When did you schedule a follow up call or meeting? What was your one minute story or offering? You may use different questions but the idea is that you want to track and measure everything. Each activity in marketing should be able to show that your business is moving forward. Without a measurement you cannot tell.
Now that you know some key networking strategies, what day and time work best for us to talk further? I look forward to connecting with you!
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Networking is not for everyone. If you avoid the process simply because of fear you might want to consider easing in with smaller groups and try to have some social fun at it. Here are some thoughts to get you started. Some of my best clients have come from an introduction at a social business event. Have fun, you are getting out and meeting new people. Remember, not everyone you meet will become your customer but they may know someone who will.
Networking will work for you in multiple ways and it should not be all about sales. Maybe you need to find someone to help you in your business. Networking can give you that opportunity as well in a face-to-face meeting with someone, it is all about connection. The best practice is to go into networking--whether they're events, mixers, or even social media-- with a clear strategy in mind. It's the only way to measure whether the process has worked and to determine the improvement process.