How to use Networking to grow your business

Networking can be used to grow your business. However, it can also instill fear into many of us (even more so us introverts) it can make us just want to run home and hide! However once you’ve attended your first one, and as long as you are prepared, it can be an incredible tool for your business. So how can you choose which networking event to go to? and what should you do once there? Read on to find out.

 

How to find a networking event

 

Ask your connections

One of the best ways is to ask people you know which ones they like and why? This way it’s less of a gamble as it is coming recommended to you.

Search

Google is perfect for this and if you search “networking events near me” it will bring up relevant ones nearby

Eventbrite

This is the perfect platform to find networking events. You can use the search function and narrow down what it is you are looking for (for example when you want to go today, this week, anytime) You can put your location and also what sort of event (so if looking for networking pick business & professional)

Websites

There are many websites that have event listings. This one is https://www.findnetworkingevents.com/ you can look in the region you live and see events near you. It gives you the event, times, location and a bit about it including cost

Meetup

Although meetup can be used for socialising it can also be used to find networking events. Simply use the search bar and pick Career & Business as the category. www.meetup.com

 

How to get the most out of a networking event

 

  • Try a free/low cost one before looking into the paid ones
  • If you are feeling nervous, have a goal just to meet one or 2 people (maybe they look a bit anxious too or maybe someone you know)
  • Listen. We have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason. Don’t be that person that talks non-stop about themselves and never asks questions about the other person
  • Be of service. Ask what can I help you with? Or is there an area you need help on? Or who are you looking to connect with
  • Best place to stand? Try positioning yourself at the point where people leave the bar. They will be more relaxed at this point having entered, signed up and
  • Have 2 lists. People that would make ideal clients and people that you could collaborate with and be a referral partner
  • Ask for a 1:1 if you think it would be useful to continue the discussion
  • Follow up after the event (reminding them where it was you met them)
  • Have a short who I help statement (you don’t want to stand there not knowing what to say so practice beforehand)

 

Things not to do

Throw business cards & leaflets at people before you have even had a conversation

  • Try and see everyone in the room, have meaningful conversations rather than worrying about numbers
  • Don’t rule out people because they are not your ideal client. Networking is about extending your reach and you never know who that person knows (they may have a large network)
  • Stare off into the distance whilst someone is talking. Be genuinely interested, and as soon as you can, if you realise this isn’t an ideal prospect be polite and make you excuses to leave

 

So I hope that’s been useful, and given you some ideas of how to use Networking to grow your business. Let me know what your biggest takeaways are below

If you would like some support in your business, why not join my FREE Facebook group here

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