You will meet thousands of people throughout your small business career, most likely while attending a business event, seminar, trade show or conference. Want to know how to convert contacts into business relationships?
Remember these networking tips:
– Prepare your “30-second commercial.” You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Write, edit and rehearse a short summary of what your business does, who you serve and why people love to deal with you.
– Take notes. Write down the gist of your conversation with a new contact on the back of their business card. Refer to your chat when you follow up.
– Focus on one objective per event. Contrary to popular belief, your goal isn’t to hand out as many business cards as possible. Your goal for any business networking event should be to meet one supplier, meet one colleague or meet one prospect.
– Keep it short and sweet. Don’t engage a new business contact for 10 minutes. Give them a brief introduction to you and your business, and let them do the same. You’ll have time to expand on what you do during a post-event follow up.
– Follow up. What you say isn’t as important as what you do. Within a few days, be sure to contact each person to arrange a coffee, an informal meeting or phone call to explore a business relationship.