Work It Wednesday – Keep your head up and focused on the mission for you this week, whether it be finishing a project, completing a set of tasks OR meeting that certain person at a networking event! No matter what it is, it is sure to be built around an activity that is to build your business. Meeting people, potential clients, prospects or just other connectors are strong parts of the “business skyscraper” you are building.
Casey Eberhart, The IdealNetworker, is well known as a “Connector” in the business world. He travels speaking all over the United States and soon to be going International! His training on connecting and building relationships has helped small business owners and network marketers expand their reach and build their businesses beyond what they thought they could. Today Casey shares some insight on attending business networking events…
A simple strategy to assist you at your next professional business networking event.
When you attend a mixer or other professional business networking event, consider having a plan in place BEFORE you leave the house!!
Most people do not enjoy going to professional business networking functions like Chambers of Commerce events because they are in a sea of other business owners that are there to either build an email list or sell their products to a bunch of people that are not there to buy. Sometimes small business owners will get into a rut or only continue to engage with other people who are in the clique or “in” crowd. This is upsetting because if we get stuck in a rut we lose site of the
whole reason we went in the first place. To meet referral partners and create meaningful relationships and maybe even a tad bit of face time with clients!
When I head out to a professional business networking function, I always go with a strategy in place before I ever enter the event. It really is about getting out there and meeting the RIGHT people. Notice I put the word “right” in all caps. This is very important. Most small business people do not really think through how to actually generate a profit through professional business networking, they just show up with the goal of handing out a bunch of cards to increase what they perceive to be visibility.
When I go I have a few rules that if you follow, will put the odds in your favor that you will generate, profit, exposure and relationships with the RIGHT business owners.
Here are a couple of tips/rules that I think will shift how you network with other business professionals.
1. Always meet the Speaker~~ I always will try to get the know the people at the event with the most influence. Speakers are a good choice. Most speakers will talk about people they know in the audience and this can result in MASSIVE exposure for you. I once met Dr. Ivan Misner, Founder of BNI (Business Networking International) before an event of 500 people. I asked him about an article he had written for Networking Times. He asked me to ask him about the article during the question and answer period. I did (of course). Result: He talked about ME in front of 5oo professionals all whom were there to hear him talk about networking!! I was mobbed after the event. Meet the speaker!
2. Meet the Organizer~~ They know everyone and can lead you in the right direction of who might be the professional you need to know. They are also usually up on all the gossip and will give you some insights if someone might not be the right type for you to talk with. 😉 AND to be the organizer, they are serious about
3. Get out of your comfort zone~~ When you are looking for business professionals to mix and mingle with, always be on the lookout for the ones who have influence! When you build relationships and serve those relationships with people who have influence, it usually comes back around in the form of business and referrals! They can and usually will treat you like you are in the “IN” crowd. This is where you want to hang. Let other people sing your praises, it builds credibility. Someone else talking about you will always trump you talking about yourself!!
4. Don’t always hang with the same people!~~ When I am at an event, I use it as a jumping off point of meeting and getting to know new and interesting people to add to my professional business network. I may only spend half the time with people I already know and the other half I am looking for and seeking out other people I can get to know and support in their business. Another way of looking at this, if you are hanging with the same people at every event, STOP! It is NOT a social club or a clique, it is a professional business networking event! Treat it as such.
The game of business is founded on connectivity, relationships and profit.
By the way, you will note that I did not tell you to run around and hand out a bunch of business cards, leave them at home. You are there to find the few people you would like to build a long relationship with, not to sell. Stick to connecting with the quality people at the event and work extra hard at supporting them in their business. Trust me, the business will flow back to you 10 fold! Happy connecting!!
If you have a chance and would like to connect with me head over to my Facebook Page and let’s connect!