Ever gone to a networking event and immediately ran into one of those businesses? You know the ones. They swoop up to you, blast you with 15 minutes of how great they are, throw the kitchen sink at you with all the material they give you, and then leave satisfied that they have done their job. They “networked!” UGG, kill me now.
Now what do you do? Call them and hire them before they leave the building? Or shake your head in disbelieve annoyed they took up so much of your time, while promptly dumping everything they gave you in the nearest garbage.
It’s important in business to network successfully and to leave a good first impression. Whether you are just starting out or been in business for years, it is critical to do it right. Often it will be the decisive factor in whether you get a second chance to meet again. And it’s so easy and fun to do.
Let’s go over a few networking tips for terrific first impressions”
- Listen. It’s not all about you and never was. Think how you feel when someone truly listens to you and you can tell they feel your pain or feel your confidence in your business. It feels awesome! They understand you and you WANT to work with them. That’s the goal here and being a good listener goes a long way.
- Be prepared. Often times at events, you can do your homework well before to know the key players. Review their website and social media in advance. Think about what their needs might be and be able to address those needs.
- Be friendly and profession. Especially in the beginning that is key. You want to show confidence in your service so provide enough information, without going overboard.
- Work on your soundbytes. Often you only have a short time to tell about your business. Perfect it. And don’t forget those business cards, calendars, etc.
- Look great! You feel so much more confident when you do. Know the attire and follow suit. Also, forego the killer heels. Honestly people can feel your pain and when you have to take them off out of agony, those bare feet just don’t cut it. Now this isn’t to say, flip flops are okay with that suit? But find those shoes that work for you and wear them. Also, for long events, you can add a second pair in your bag for later in the day. Bottom line, comfort rules!After the event:
- Follow-up promptly. If you wait weeks, guess what, they forgot all about you.
- Don’t sound desperate. No need to share that you are brand new, starting out, scared to death, have ten kids and two dogs to feed, will do whatever it takes to get the job including giving up that first born (kidding!), etc. When clients sense that desperation, they run. Honestly, over the years I’ve seen these and it’s not pretty. Of course not to this extent, but hopefully you see what I mean. Be confident! You can do this! Let that confidence shine and you will land those ideal clients.
- Follow-up with a written proposal. Have that template ready so you can easily add to it and personalize it to that client.
Networking rocks! Hopefully these tips will help. Love to hear yours as well. Please do share below!
Diana Ennen, Author: VA the Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and So You Want to be a Work at Home Mom.