Networking is not just about attending events. It is also about attending meetings, making strategic connections and growing your networks. Likewise, relationship building and planning are key components for successful networking. Networking can be a critical piece in business development. Being able to meet the right contacts and further your agenda can lead to a plethora of opportunities.
Listed below are tips for engaging in effective conversations with business specialists.
Whether you meet a business specialist a conference, meeting, mixer or other function, make sure that you are properly prepared. Have a dynamic elevator pitch which concisely highlights your company, capabilities, target audience and value proposition. Carry up to date marketing materials such as business cards, flyers, postcards and other useful information. Direct the conversation along the lines of offering information rather than selling a product or service. In the process, listen closely, pay attention and show respect. These types of nonverbal communication cues can build your brand and likeability with the other person.
Once you have made a connection and scheduled your meeting, it is imperative to do your due diligence. Make sure that all of your information, materials and internet presence are aligned, correct and up to date. Feel free to reach out via email or phone to remind your counterpart of the session 1 or 2 days in advance. Be available to correspond before the meeting and update your counterpart on any changes to the meeting. Always arrive a few minutes early in the case that you are meeting outside of your location.
Use the meeting as an opportunity to show professionalism and competency. Lead with confidence and adhere to the length of the scheduled meeting. Share presentations, demos, resources etc. and create a platform to do business. Follow through and offer to have another meeting as a continuation or to propose new ideas or content. As always, thank the business specialist for their time and follow up in a timely manner.