How to Make Networking Meetings Work for You
~by Haley Lynn Gray~
Networking meetings are one of those things that most entrepreneurs are pretty sure they should go to, but don’t. They can be scary and intimidating, and if your’e an introvert like me, they can be overwhelming. If you’re not an extrovert, walking into a room full of people you don’t know is enough to give you hives. Working your way through it can be an experience you may want to avoid altogether.
So, if you know that it’ll get you clients, you probably roll up your sleeves and do it anyway, then wonder why you’re not getting clients.
Part of the reason is that there are ways to work a networking meeting that will generate clients for you, and ways that won’t.
Make sure you introduce yourself; let people know what you do and who you help. Make it easy to remember, and give them some sort of idea who you’re looking for. This isn’t the time to be shy and retiring. You need to have a 30-second spiel that you can recite off the top of your head with enthusiasm, vigor, sincerity, and passion.
Bring your business cards with you and hand them out to everyone you meet. Also, make a point of collecting their business cards. In fact, you should bring your business cards nearly everywhere you go.
Introduce yourself to at least 3 to 5 new people at each meeting, engage them, and learn about their businesses. This isn’t so much about quantity, but quality of connections. You don’t have to talk to every person in the room, just a few of them, and make the interactions good.
After the Meeting
After the meeting, contact those people you met and schedule a 1:1 meeting with them so you can get to know them better. Your job is to sleuth out the people who are likely to refer prospects to you, and to figure out who you can refer to them. People love someone who is going to refer to their businesses, so they will be much more likely to refer back to you.
Business is about relationships, so your job after the meeting is to build those relationships.
Consistency is Key
Lots of people show up to a single networking meeting and wonder why they’re not getting the referrals they need for their business. Truth is, you can’t just show up once and wonder why you don’t get the results you need. As a great friend of mine says, “All things being equal, people refer to people they know, and all things being unequal, people still refer to people they know.” If they don’t know you, like you and trust you, they aren’t going to refer to you.
Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray
Haley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.
Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.
Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.
Connect with Haley:
- Work with Haley: http://leadershipgirl.com/work-with-haley/
- Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Leadershipgirl
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/haleygray