In a survey I carried out, 86% responded saying that they regularly attended networking events so we know we are here for a good reason. No one likes to do anything for nothing or to waste time, so as you are networking already, why don’t you ensure you use the right ingredients to make a successful recipe.
Preparing for a networking event
How do you prepare for an event?
Once you have chosen your appropriate and professional looking outfit, decided which event to go to and got directions to the venue. What next?
PREPARE! It’s a business event and opportunity and not just a social outing, so treat it accordingly. Remember the reason you and others are there such as finding new business, raising the profile of the company, getting a specific message across or finding new suppliers and contacts.
Bring your cards or material to hand out, bring a notepad and pen, remember your name badge and write and practice your monthly minute. You have paid to come to this event and so have the others attending, so give it your full attention.
You wouldn’t arrive at a restaurant having eaten already or leave your purse at home would you, so don’t come to a networking event unprepared. When speaking or when writing, choose your words carefully. Make sure you get across your company name and a simple explanation of what you do. Remember benefits and not just features. What do I mean? Well a feature of a car is that it has a certain engine spec. So what? The benefit is that it uses less petrol per mile for example. The customer needs to know WIIFM. What’s in it for me?
Repeat why you are unique and why anyone should use you. As a tip, the answer to being unique won’t be just something like you are simply cheaper or more experienced but something like a unique product or the fastest delivery time or the only company supplying goods in Bucks. Your ideal customers won’t also be everyone. You cannot target everyone, so break these people down into smaller groups by age or gender or location.
If you don’t know your usp or ideal target customer, ask. Ask a marketing expert. carry out some market research.
Refer back to your marketing plan for inspiration when writing each minute. This will also help you remain on track.
Remember to advertise the fact you are networking so potential customers you make contact with during other marketing such as email newsletters and social networking.