Guest post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Where do you market? If you’re like lot of entrepreneurs, you find it much easier to simply network from the comfort of your keyboard than to wear something other than sweatpants and slippers, right? Well, if you’re not “out there” shaking hands, passing out business cards and talking about your business face-to-face, you’re missing out on some great ways to network and grow your business; there is no better way to interact with potential clients and business partners than with face-to-face interaction.
Even with the ease and speed of social media networking, to truly brand yourself and your business you need to have face-to-face interaction. Networking at business events means you will have to perfect your “elevator pitch,” shake hands and hand out business cards, it is a great way to meet potential clients.
When you’re at networking events you’re not there to merely tell people what you can do for them, you want to know what their pain points are. Ask questions, draw them out. Keep this information in the back of your mind – and make a note on the back of their business card so you can use it for follow up once you get back to your office. Just as your social media updates shouldn’t be all sales pitch, neither should your interactions with potential business partners.
Implement these steps into your online and offline networking strategies:
- Always be prepared. It’s a good motto in business and in life. You never know when you will run into a potential business partner. Always be equipped with business cards and a firm handshake.
- Who are the major players at the meeting? Are there specific individuals or specific industries to which you’d like to connect? Know your audience then you can tailor your pitch and make certain you make the most of the meeting.
- Be more interested in the person with whom you’re connecting than you are with selling your products. Make a great first impression – be the person that they remember as being interested in what they have to say rather than what you have to sell.
- Be enthusiastic about the individual you’re meeting. Compliment their accomplishments. Ask to connect with them online, comment on their status updates and blog posts.
- As an entrepreneur you will likely know instinctively when the time is right to push for a business meeting, or even a get-to-know-you coffee. If you know someone who knows the potential business connection, ask for a referral or don’t be afraid to name drop, “Hey, Ms. XYZ, we both know Mr. ABC and he mentioned you do incredible work.”
Visit a few networking events to see which one might be the best fit for both your personality and for meeting the type of business owners you need to help your business grow. Bottom line, you are the key to the success your business enjoys – be the best ambassador for your business and get out from behind the keyboard!