If your company is going to be the next big thing then you’re going to need to get out there in the business world and mingle. Networking events are the perfect platforms to showcase your professionalism and let everyone know about your company brand. You get to mix and mingle with likeminded individuals and create serious connections.
If you’ve ever been to a networking event before, then you know full well that there are hundreds of companies being represented in one location. That means in order to get your brand out there, you have to stand out from the crowd. To do this, a bit of research and preparation are necessary. It never hurts to be prepared so that you can rise to the occasion when it’s necessary. Here are some tips that will hopefully help you make a lasting impression:
- Do a Bit of Research on the Attendees
Are there certain business connections you intend to meet while at your networking event? If so, then you’re going to want to make sure you know your facts about the individual and their business ahead of time. A little bit of research goes a long way in making a good impression.
Let’s say you’re going into the retail industry for women’s fashion and you’re looking to start your own boutique. You might want to do some research on various companies who sell their products through retailers. For instance, if you’re looking for footwear, you might check out shoes from Marc Fisher to see how profitable the business is and how it might complement your brand.
- Try and Connect Others
Though finding business connections is your ideal goal, if you know other individuals that might work well together, being the connector can be a great way to impress both parties. For instance, using the example above, if you were in the retail industry specifically for women’s fashions but found someone who was looking for a vendor to sell their men’s fashions through, connecting them with other retailers is a great way to help them out and build a potential connection in the future.
- Don’t Over Pitch
Yes, networking events are a great platform for finding leads for connecting in the world of business, however, that doesn’t mean that you should over do it. Trying too hard to sell someone on your products or services is a surefire way to get labeled. When business owners feel like they’re being pressured to conduct business with you, they will likely go the other way and also tell other business connections to beware. So while you want to talk about your brand, you’re not trying to make a sell right then, you’re simply trying to build leads and generate connections.
- Quality Over Quantity
While you might want to meet everyone that came out to the networking event that day you don’t want to get so consumed with a number of connections that you forget to foster real relationships. Sure, you could very easily walk around the room and pass out your business card to everyone while introducing yourself in fewer than two minutes, but what will you be remembered for? Take time to really talk with people and cultivate relationships that can be remembered beyond the networking event.
- A Firm Handshake and Eye Contact
When introducing yourself to someone, be sure to give a good old firm handshake to seal the deal. Handshakes are very useful in the world of business and should be used as often as possible. Also, as you’re talking with a business professional be sure that you’re keeping constant eye contact as you talk. Whether you’re doing the speaking or the listening, eye contact lets them know that you’re confident and that you’re paying attention.
- Don’t Forget Your Marketing Materials
This is not to suggest that you waltz into the networking event with flyers and other large pieces of marketing materials. However, what it does mean is that you want to make sure that you have a bit of information for your connections to remember you by. A simple business card is a great way to do this. It provides them with all of your contact information and gives them something tangible to hold onto.
- Practice Your Pitch
There’s nothing worse than clamming up when someone asks you what you do for a living. However, if you haven’t been to many networking events, this is a very possible reality. So to prevent looking embarrassed in front of others, it is probably a good idea to come up with a few things to say that can sum up what your brand is all about.
- Dress the Part
Lastly, you always want to go to a networking event looking like a professional. Sure you might work from home in your pajamas but when you step outside, you’re a representative of your company. Therefore, you want to make sure that you’re dressed well for the event. Again using the women’s retail business as an example, you might even consider putting on some shoes by Marc Fisher or clothing by other designers that you’re interested in working with. This is a subtle way to flatter your potential connections. If you’re not sure what to wear, business casual is usually the best option.
Networking events are the perfect way to grow your business, particularly for those who are just starting out. It might seem intimidating to be in a room full of successful professionals, but it is in these moments that you have the opportunity to create lasting relationships. As long as you keep these eight tips in mind, you should have no problem in standing out and making a lasting impression in the minds of many.