“The medium is the message.”
The contacts made in business networking will be useful in a number of ways such as growing your business, reaching new clients or in reinforcing your own professional reputation. However, like all marketing tools, for business networking to deliver a return you have to invest time and energy, polishing up some skills or perhaps even acquiring new ones. In order to be remembered for all the right reasons, it is especially important to hit the right note when you meet new people or when you are offered the chance to make a short pitch to the group. In business networking, the medium is you!
Your name /your company: (essential of course…)
What is special about you /the company: (awards, qualifications, experience…)
What you offer: (in a few sentences with strong focus on the benefits for the customer…)
What you are looking for: (referrals, new opportunities, meetings…)
The sign-off: (repeat or emphasise a point you want the listener to remember…)
It is important to practise and be able to deliver this pitch confidently at the drop of hat. However, remember that networking is not just about referrals and very rarely will a first meeting result in an immediate sale. Our advice is to approach networking as a chance to get to KNOW others:
- Look to build relationships rather than attempting to make a sale.
- Use positive and welcoming body language to maintain rapport.
- Be enthusiastic and friendly towards fellow networkers.
- Give people your time and show interest in what they do by asking questions.
- Follow-up on any promises you make.
When it comes to networking, you have to be your own best advocate!