10 Ways To Be More Memorable At Your Next Networking Event
The holiday season is upon us and now begins the time of ramping up your social game along with planning for 2017. Networking is one of those necessary evils or joys in business — depending on how you look at it. It’s one of those things you’re either really good at or you really suck. How is it that some can do it so effortlessly, while others would rather get a root canal. Perhaps it’s all in the preparation or lack thereof. Nonetheless, I am a firm believer of building a strong network to grow your business. So how do you make the most of your next engagement to ensure another strong year? Here are 10 tips to get you started.
1. Identify Your Target
Be specific and intentional with your networking activities. Identifying who you’re marketing to and what you’re going to say is extremely important. As with any solid business strategy, understand the needs of the audience and what you can do for them. This requires research, time, and strategic planning. Once you have identified your true audience, the ease of executing your marketing strategies will save your business not only money but time.
Like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it. Whether you send someone on your behalf or you go yourself, there is no such thing as I couldn’t make it. You should plan to attend marketing and networking events during this holiday season. The advantages of attending events during this time of year are pretty obvious, so definitely, make yourself seen.
I would also add that you do need to be strategic about the events you attend. You don’t need to be at every holiday event, but at a minimum, you should attend something industry specific, a fundraiser or holiday give back and something client specific or appreciation.
3. Be a Goal Digger
Part of being strategic is being intentional. Ideally, you need to be organized and your goals for attending the event should be clear. A few questions you may want to ask are:
- What am I trying to achieve?
- Who do I need to “bump” into?
- What is my leave behind?
- How will I follow-up?
No matter the goal, set it and execute it. Taking mental notes and identifying individuals on a first name basis, creates a sense of comfort and leverage to open up about potential partnerships or business expansions.
Try to listen more that you talk. When the person gives you a nugget of information you can remember, use it in your follow-up approach.Quick Networking tip: write down the nugget on the back of their card. Click To Tweet
4. Ask Questions
Being genuine is worth its weight in gold. Look at this as your personal mission to do some fact finding. Of course, make sure your questions are open-ended in nature so that you don’t get direct “yes — no” answers. Plus, open-ended questions are a great way to keep the conversation going, especially when you’re in that awkward part of your conversation and you find yourself talking about the weather.
5. The Perfect Pitch
Develop a short interesting pitch. If you already have a pitch, refine the one you have. Perform a test and create different variations to see which one’s fly and which fall flat.
Quick Networking Tip: Your pitch should tell people who you serve and why you serve them Click To Tweet
Avoid jingles and make them genuine. Most people don’t care what you do more than why you do it. There is nothing like the art of a good story.
If you find yourself at an industry event and your competitors are surrounding you, be prepared to leave something memorable behind. A few things you may want to consider are case studies, white papers, a slick promo piece. If all else fails, bring your business card, but do something memorable on the backside. Better yet, a funky name tag that commands attention. What better way to leave a lasting impression than to show a little personality before a word is uttered your way.
This is where over 60% of businesses fail. Not following up with potential prospects or partners is like taking an exam and not following up with the instructor to retrieve your score. Yes, you took time out of your schedule to take the test, and now you’re not going to find out how you did? Networking follows up can be the difference between getting closer to your prospect’s pain points now or continuing a relentless search on the internet for the perfect customer. You potentially have the data at your fingertips — make prospecting easy.
If you see a need for your services or products, pitch a date and time that will work best for both schedules. You can even make that process easy by using software like Calendly or Schedulicity to make the meeting arrangements and avoid emails back and forth.
8. Don’t Waste Time
When you have finally emptied your pockets, purses, and briefcases from all of the events you have attended, align them by interest and potential. It’s customary to send a “Nice Meeting You” note, but that can be done through email automation or a nice holiday card. Contacts that you made in alignment with your business should get a personal touch with a meeting request. Don’t play the email back and forth game. Invite them out for coffee, a meeting in the office or an event that’s close in proximity to them. Also, don’t wait more than 72 hours to reach out to someone. As time passes, so does our memories. Don’t do what everyone else will do, follow up within 3 days.
9. Keep Your Promise
You forgot to send out the information packet you promised? Did you call when you said you were going to? Try to honor your word, and if for some reason you can’t — be upfront about it. Honoring your word means everything in business. It’s a sign of your integrity. If Amazon promises to deliver your goods in 48 hours, you as the consumer expect that your goods will be delivered in 48 hours — not 72. Let your prospects know they are important.
10. Always Seek Knowledge
There are tons of tutorials, courses, blog posts, and videos on new methods for networking and marketing. There are several cost-effective ways to build your networking skills, I encourage you to take some time to learn some new techniques to expand your knowledge. I recommend you Coursera to get started. We live in a time where the information we need is at the tip of our fingers, literally, so take advantage of all resources offered, attend as many networking events as possible.
Lastly, as you continue to invest in your business, your brand, and your life, make sure you understand the relevance of networking and how you can use it to leverage your current position. You should be doing everything in your business to be remembered. Be different and daring, but most important SOCIAL.