Networking is more than a handing out business cards event.
Growing your business through networking is about developing and nurturing relationships. Remember: people do not buy products or services, they buy benefits and solutions and above all they buy from people they know and like.
One of the biggest faux pas I’ve seen during my years of attending business events, are the pushy people who approach a networking meeting with a “me, me, me” attitude. A better approach is to learn about the other person first. You then have the option of explaining how what you do that might be of interest to them. This establishes a stronger platform for future communications.
When you do introduce yourself, do so in a way that states the benefit of doing business with you. Saying “Hi, my name is Karina and I’m a Virtual Assistant” is not very exciting. However, if I were to say, “My name is Karina and I help business people to free up their time allowing them to concentrate on their core business” This causes the other person, if they are at all curious, to ask, “How do you do that?” At this point, you have opened the door for a further explanation or commercial use for your business. You can then go on to explain the benefits of your products or services.
I am a big fan of the local business driven networking groups. For that reason I’m a member of Exeter Business Club. We meet on Friday mornings for breakfast networking. It’s actually more than networking. We are a community of trusted local business friends.
Exeter Business Club is not about leads and business growth; if we need business advice, we have it on tap. If a client is looking for a particular service, we know who the best is, and we recommend their service. Also, if like me you are a sole trader working from home it’s a great way to get out of the office and meet like-minded business owners every week. Good business networking is so much more than an exchange of business cards, it’s about trust, friendship and knowledge.
If your business is located within East Devon I would highly recommend coming along to Exeter Business Club. If you can’t find a group like it… start a similar group yourself.