5 tips to make the best of your next networking opportunity

Updated: Aug 18, 2019

Brought to you by Marilyn Barker with Barker Business Services

Sometimes people aren't sure what Networking really means or how to Network. One definition is : a group or system of interconnected people or things. Building your professional network is essential to all businesses. Its a great way to meet new people, make connections for referrals and to market your business to a broad range of consumers.

Interaction with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

Networking is still one of the most cost effective marketing methods available to a small business. Unfortunately, it’s also something that very few people are good at. Just visit any chamber of commerce luncheon and in no time you’ll quickly see numerous examples of bad networking. I’m talking about the guy who passes out business cards to everyone in the room and yet couldn’t tell you the name of a single person he talked to an hour later…or the woman who is clearly more interested in the desert tray than in any meaningful business-related conversation. It’s no wonder many people concentrate on other marketing tactics when their “networking” experiences involve examples like these.

Tip #1 Listen

When attending a networking group or meeting. Truly listen to what others are saying. Get to know them.

Tip #2 Remember it is not just about you

Yes when you attend a networking group or meeting you are there to share your business but it is always to build your network ( your sphere of influence), so be clear what you do but be sure to try to talk to others who would be a connect you could refer. Remember its not what you can gain but what can you offer.

Tip #3 Referrals

Be clear when asking for referrals. Don't ask for vague referrals. "I help all small business owners." This will lead to a dead end referral if any at all. Instead be as specific as possible according to your business. "I am looking for sole proprietors who have been in business for 1 to 2 years and is looking for help with their online presence.

Tip #4 Create some strategic partners

You can not always connect with everyone. Try to pick out one to two people with a business that would compliment yours and try to build and establish a relationship.

Tip #5 Be Yourself

Remember you are there to make connections and build relationship. Yes you are there for your business but no sales pitches. Be genuine. Be yourself. People can tell when you are being fake or too pushy and they will not connect with you if they feel they are being used.

These are just a few things to help you get your networking off to a good start. To learn more Check out : www.BarkerBusinessServices.com

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