Business networking is about developing valuable relationships. Gaining a good network of contacts is important for both personal and business growth. Whether you’re looking for job referrals, client referrals, business connections or exposing your brand.
We host a number of networking events at Silverstream Retreat, we see a lot of happy people leaving with business cards in hand. Here are a few tips for successful business networking:
- Relax and be yourself. People often feel nervous at networking events especially going by yourself, but don’t be afraid to go up to someone and introduce yourself, smile and say hello.
- Think about what you want to gain from the event. Plan a short pitch about yourself and your business or service, work out what your strengths are and what skills you can offer. You don’t want to be pushy or overwhelm people with an aggressive sales pitch, you want to build trust and relationships.
- Some networking events aren’t about making business contacts but about learning and sharing, so always make sure you give back, whether that’s sharing your knowledge or sharing an inspiring story. It’s a good way to gain trust and build rapport.
- Have some questions ready before you arrive. Ask open ended questions because they require more than a simple yes or no answer “What made you decide to go into business”, “What do you enjoy about your job?”
- Make sure you follow up on any referrals as soon as possible after the event. Find ways to stay in touch, whether it’s sending an email every few months or connecting online with social media.