Oakland Future Trio photo cred: Black Pearl Entertainment
Networking is one of the buzz words experts say can grow your business, as you build relationships with those who can be an asset to your brand. Here are some tips that can be used to make sure your networking efforts are successful.
Have an action plan: If you know beforehand the type of event you are attending, research to see who else might be attending such an event. If possible, read up on speakers and presenters so that you are familiar with them and tailor your pitch. If it is not possible to know who will be attending beforehand, devise a plan to meet a certain number of people or people from a specific market or field.
Marketing Collateral: Make sure your marketing collateral is on point. Make sure your materials contain your name, business name, a contact phone number and email address. Make sure the collateral is easy to carry, as the person will be juggling a lot of business cards and brochures. Find a way to make sure your collateral stands out. Use large print, bright colors and unique pictures to get your brand across.
Elevator Pitch: Make sure your introduction is clear and concise; be short and to the point. Be sure to have a business card or digital calling card handy so people know how to contact your later. Your elevator pitch should include your name, business name, and a brief statement on what your business is about and how you would like to work with the representative you are speaking with. If it is a sales lead, introduce your brand without being too pushy. Use this time to simply introduce your product and provide information on where they can purchase the product at a later time.
Follow up: Following up is an important aspect of networking. What is the use of attending an event, collecting information and not using it? Don’t be shy or scared to contact those who you have met. Make connections within one week, thanking them for their time and reiterating who you are and what your business is about. If it is a sales lead, remind them about the product you introduced to them and make them aware that other products are available. Don’t push too hard though, because it could be a turn off.
Overall, have fun with it. You will be introduced to like-minded individuals, who are in your field. This is a time to ask questions, learn new tips, to get referrals or to have a drink and just hang out.