Face to face networking is one of the best ways to find real prospects for your business. Most business owners hate these types of events because they can’t see any real value in it. You spend all day away from your business and you go home with no sales leads, instead you have a bunch of business cards from people that want you to buy something.
A day or even a half day is a long time to be away from your business so if you are going to do it, be sure that it is worth your while. Below is a list of 5 networking mistakes that entrepreneurs and CEOs often make that typically keep them from finding qualified prospects or sales leads.
I Can’t Believe I Attended That
Being in the wrong place is almost always the problem with face to face networking for business owners. Many of us (I have been guilty of this one) signup for the wrong type of event. Let’s take the Virtual Assistant for example; it is not a smart idea to register for an event in which the key speaker will talk about Time Management for The Virtual Assistant if you are only going in search for new business.
This may be great training for you, but if you want find good prospects, you have to attend events in their industry. If your ideal client is a realtor, you should be attending events that are tailored to the real estate industry.
The first time you meet a potential client, you want to leave them with a great impression of you and your business. At networking events, you only have a short amount of time to let people know who you are, what you do and what makes you different.
Before you attend an event, you should already have a dynamic elevator pitch created. I will elaborate more on creating an effective elevator pitch at a later date but to get you started remember that your pitch should be:
- No longer than 60 seconds, although I recommend staying around 30 seconds
- Targeted to your ideal prospect
- Focused on the outcome or results you provide for your clients
No Cards or Promotional Material
The tackiest thing I have ever seen at an event is someone writing their contact details on a napkin and handing it to me. That says two things; the first being that they are not prepared and the second is that they are not professional. I know that things happen but if you are going to an event, don’t show up without some type of promotional information, even if it’s just a business card. If you ordered some items and they haven’t arrived the day before your event, run to a same day printing shop and have 50 to 100 business or postcards printed up. Remember that it’s all about appearances and you don’t want people to assume that you are not capable of delivering professional, high quality work.
What Are You Wearing?
Dress accordingly, if it says business casual, don’t wear sweats or a three piece suit. The event planner should be able to tell you in advance what type of dress is appropriate. This may seem silly to some of you, but following the dress code says that you know how to take instruction and are reliable.
Be on Time
Do not show up late for an event, especially if it is an event where everyone is sitting down. You will get noticed, but not in a good way. Being late says to prospects that your delivery time will be unreliable as well.
There are tons of other tips out there that can help you make networking events a gold mine for your business, this list is a great place to start. I hope this information has been helpful and I wish you tons of success at your next event.
Apex Virtual Solutions is a virtual provider of website design, online marketing and administrative support. Our key focus is to help small business increase their revenue through creative strategies, systemizing and ongoing support. For more great tips, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.