Live Networking Events Do’s & Don’ts
If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur you probably have already experienced a few live networking events as a way to grow your business. I’m sure you already have your elevator speech prepared to say as soon as you saw the title of this blog post. Is live networking working for your business? If not, then here are a few strategies to build your network and grow your business.
- Make a GREAT first impression. You only have 30 seconds up to one minute to make a great first impression. In this 30 second to a minute you will need to say what you do without telling your whole story. Always making sure that you are hitting your target market pain points and then telling how you will solve their issues.
For example: “Hi, my name is Lisa Silva, I am the owner of LMS Remote Office Services. I help small business owners grow their businesses, by performing all administrative, social media, email marketing and blogging tasks. I eliminate office staff overhead, because I am a independent contractor and pay my own insurance and taxes and work out of my own office. I only charge small businesses for productive time. Saving them time and money! LMS Remote Office Services Remotely running your office so you can run your business.
This would be a one minute elevator speech. I addressed who I am, what my business does, the pain issue would be a lack of time to complete admin tasks and money to afford office staff. I solve that by being an independent contractor and only charging for the time I work on their projects. Now they can be free to live network and build the business of their dreams! For a 30 second elevator speech I would remove the second sentence, knocking it down to 30 seconds.
- Don’t be the annoying salesman! Don’t think of a live networking event as a place where you are going to earn thousands of dollars in sales in that hour to two hours. Don’t talk all about yourself and your business. Listen. By being a good listener you could build stronger partnerships, and gain more leads over time.
- Business networking groups: Be selective and diligent. Thousands of networking events take place in my community every day. Some can be very costly. Most are category protected, so make sure the group you are thinking joining doesn’t already have a loyalty to another business in your category. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, but it might take some time for the group to trust and get to know you before you start seeing referrals. Join a group that is a good mix of categories. I like a group with a good mix and low cost with not expected referral amount.
- Always Network! The more you’re out, the more your business name is out there and the more you’re at the forefront of your audience and your network’s minds. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. I say the same holds true for networking. Plus another advantage you never know when you will meet a new opportunity or acquaintance who will become part of your formal network.
- Help others. Try not to think of it as giving away something for free and not getting anything in return. The return is you can share your knowledge or products and that will come back to you tenfold. By doing this you are opening the eyes and the trust of others who may have been leery of you to begin with. Others will put their faith in your business and start referring others to your business. This will pay off in the long run!
Good networking requires you to balance a strategic approach and not take yourself so seriously. Keep the strategic self behind the scenes. Carefully plan the events you’ll attend. Create a well thought-out elevator speech, both 1 minute and 30 second. I can’t stress enough don’t be pushy and don’t make it all about you and your business. Be a great listener and ask questions this will differentiate you from the crowd and increase your chances of success.
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