Networking events are put together for the purpose of attendees coming together to increase sales and business. What they don’t tell you is that you have to do some actual work to make that happen. If you want to make your next Calgary networking event a success you need to do more than just run around the room collecting business cards, this isn’t speed dating.
Why Referrals Happen
Remember the last time someone asked you if you knew a good plumber/lawyer/mechanic, I promise that you referred someone that you knew, liked and trusted to get the job done. It wasn’t someone whose business card you collected six months ago at a networking event last week. While this can happen it’s as rare as winning Lotto 6/49. People give referrals to people that they know. If you want people to refer clients to you here is how you can make that happen.
- Stop randomly collecting business cards. How many times did you end up with a pocketful of business cards at the end of an event, did you remember each and every person who gave you one? You likely didn’t. Networking isn’t about sales…yet. First it’s about building a relationship with another person. Realistically at a networking event you’re only looking to meet 3-5 new people.
- Stop making it about you! Stop talking about you and start listening to the people you meet. Have some questions prepared ahead of time so you can avoid those awkward pauses we have all had. Ask about hobbies, their job, or family. People want to feel that you’re genuinely interested in the answers and asking about something other than work is a good way to do it. People know when they are being sold and they don’t like it much, do you. You will have to talk about yourself but keep it to an elevator pitch rather than a 20 minute monologue.
- Don’t be that guy. Don’t be irritating, even if your dream client is standing in front of you don’t try and monopolize their time. You and everyone wants to get to know them better. Instead book a time to get together again, it will give the chance to get to know their business that much better.
Networking events are great places to meet people and build a team of referral partners, essential to the growth of your business. Before that happens you need to build a relationship that is built on trust.