Article By: Ms. Neeta Chavan, Director, BNI Navi Mumbai
Are you ready for sourcing business? What has been your purpose for joining a networking group? Are you looking for niche business referrals or bigger assignments than you are handling currently? The ideal way is to strategize your presence in business networking forums to make the most out of your membership in them.
Are you ready?
No matter what kind of networking event you’re attending, it’s always a good idea to have at least a little bit of information about the event and the people who will be in attendance. That way, you can make conversations that much easier and target the people you need to talk to, instead of wasting time talking to people who aren’t going to be helpful.
Identify your Goal
Setting your goal is important before attending a networking event. Whether you want to expand your connections or find business opportunities, it will save you time to know what you hope to get out of the event. You can still have fun and socialize, but if you know your goal it will help you focus your conversations.
Networking events can be a little bit daunting, especially if you don’t have a “game face” on. But that’s okay! Just be prepared with some conversation starters to help you ease into things without any awkwardness. Here are a few icebreakers that might help:
- What led you to this event?
- Have you been to any events like this before?
- What do you hope to get out of this event?
Keep away from Negative remarks
It’s always important to be respectful when speaking your mind. At networking events, try to steer clear of any conversations that might end up being negative or confrontational. These events are usually about meeting new people and making connections, so it’s best to keep things pleasant and amicable. If you have strong views on something, save it for another time and place.
Getting ready for Business
Are you ready to handle bigger assignments?
Are you prepared with your relevant and basic documentation like your website, company profile, catalogues, rate card, product/services portfolio, and other marketing collaterals that a prospective client might ask you?
Do you have the ability to scale up your business to 5X or 10X times, in case you receive a bigger referral from your business network? If not, what is your backup plan, or do you want to let go of the big opportunity that you have earned?
Big business does not come every day and therefore before asking for business, you should be prepared to service business.
Always Follow up
Fortunately, opportunities come to them who practice follow-up without holding back ego or feeling awkward. Remember, you are out to source business.
Are you creating value?
Think about the value you can offer. Your service offerings certainly have some value. Think about how you can make a difference to the people to whom you are promoting your service. How do they stand to benefit from their service? What would your service give them that they don’t have? Think on these lines and build your promotional communication around this.
What can you do that would save them time?
How can your expertise benefit them?
Be prepared with your elevator speech
At any time be prepared with a short and crisp description of your business and how you can benefit your target audience, your influencers or even the authorities in your field. An elevator speech means a 30-second introduction to your business. Just about enough time to introduce your business while you are in a lift with a person who can influence your business with their contacts. The elevator speech needs to be crisp and powerful.