Networking is a great business-building practice.
Prospecting is an activity you do when you’re looking for leads and customers or clients. You tend to have sales conversations with them.
This is very off-putting at a networking event. Most people there aren’t looking to buy anything on the spot and sales conversations are just plain annoying in those venues.
Here are my three best tips for profitable networking:
1) Be helpful.
Find out what people need and offer solutions, tips, advice, resources. It’s best not to try to engage them in a sales conversation on the spot even if you’re a good resource for them. If you think they are truly a hot lead who is interested in what you do, ask them if it’s ok for you to connect after the event. Then schedule a sales meeting with them later.
2) Be a connector.
Introduce people to each other that might not know each other but should. They will appreciate you for being selfless and interested in their needs.
3) Act like you’re the host/ess.
Some people avoid networking because they are shy and hate meeting and talking with strangers. When you put on your ‘host’ hat, you’ll feel more confident. You’ll be free to approach other people who look uncomfortable and engage them in conversation. As the hostess, you’ll always be on the lookout for someone who needs to be included. So don’t stay in conversation with one person the entire night. Reach out to as many people as possible with the intent to have them feel more welcome and comfortable.
Do these simple tips and you’ll feel like a champ and other people will enjoy networking with you.