Local Networking Events Can Benefit Your Business
Have you had the pleasure of being a guest at a networking breakfast? Or a networking lunch? For someone who has never attended such an event, the names will sound strange, but these are the important situations for making yourself talk with others about your business, how you do it, your products and services.
These networking events may be unique to each area. These may be in the form of business meetings to cover the status of the economy, to discuss new ordinances, or the role of the local administration. In all these events the common factor is people, you get the opportunity to 'network' further. The more people you get to meet and talk, the stronger your network of business contacts and the larger your potential customer base becomes.
Even a thousand mile journey starts with a single step. Therefore the primary thing to do is to start networking locally. You must get out into the community, spend time with other business owners or at least in large groups or gatherings; maybe just social events like a Christmas party, school reunion, whatever. Next you need to decide on an icebreaker question. "What do you do?" has been found to be the most suitable question to start your interaction. Everyone likes to talk about him or herself. And in turn he or she is bound to ask you the same question, which is the basic purpose of your visit!
Conversation is the best way to network when you are among strangers or acquaintances. It is normal for business cards to be passed around and given out to each other. When you are planning to attend a club meeting or a networking business event it is advisable to carry your marketing materials. It could be a brochure or similar printed material that describes your activities and or products. When people take your materials they have some information to refer to, something concrete that they can read later, and remember you and your business.
You must also collect the contact information of people you meet, info such as phone number, email ids and business cards. Back at your office you can go through the details leisurely and get to understand them and their businesses better and identify how you can be of some use to them through your business. You can then make a marketing package for each individual. Remember, people like to be treated special. Once you have this ready, mail out the information with a personal note. Say that it was great talking to that person and that you wanted to share some more information about your business and relate how your product or service can help them. This is perfectly acceptable straight forward marketing, and when done well immediately after the first networking event, works wonders for your business.