If you read our first blog about the importance of networking, you will remember that it is not just about networking, but networking effectively.
That said, people do tend to de-prioritize networking as a whole. Let’s face it: Networking isn’t always at the top of our priority list, and this can be for a long list of reasons. It can be awkward and time-consuming. And, after a long workweek, it tends to be the last thing anyone wants to do—especially when rest and relaxation are calling your name.
However, networking is an essential part of finding clients, promoting your company and increasing its brand awareness.
That said, we realize that networking — and socializing for that matter — is not everyone’s strong suit or comfort zone. Some of us are introverts more than others, and though we may have brilliant ideas and products, we may not always excel in the areas of social skills and how to promote your business.
With that in mind, we at Hint of Feisty have created a quick “how to” guide on how to get that first conversation going.
- Have an icebreaker or question ready.
It can be challenging to walk up to complete strangers and start a conversation, regardless of your confidence level. It is always helpful to have a line or question prepared to initiate conversations. A simple, “What brings you here to this event?” or “How do you know so-and-so” is all it takes to get a conversation going. This line of questioning builds on your first shared connection, and will quickly move you into your own networking goals.
- Be open about your goals.
Some people think it is too “sales-y” if they start talking about what they do, or don’t want to see “pushy,” and feel uncomfortable promoting themselves. However, if you don’t talk about it, you almost certainly won’t be any closer to getting what you want. And, you’d be surprised how many people will be naturally interested in what you are offering, especially if you believe in what you do.
- Be Natural/Be Yourself
The more natural you are, the better. Rather than having a pitch prepared, it is better if you are able to speak naturally about what you do and what your goals are as a point of interest (with that said, you do want to make sure you have thought in advance about important points to include when talking to others about your company). If you were worried about being too “salesy” as mentioned in #2, then don’t be salesy—just be yourself. Just think about the reasons that you got your company started in the first place, and go from there.
- Follow up.
If you do have a good or great conversation with someone at a networking event and wind up exchanging contact information, send this person a note within a few days of the event. Be sure to include something that lets the person know what you enjoyed about speaking with them. If you offered to make a connection for this person, be sure to follow through, and hopefully they will do the same—referral marketing is also an important part of networking.
Networking doesn’t have to be rocket science when it comes to making connections and initiating conversations—sometimes it is as easy as introducing yourself, smiling and mentioning your line of work. If you do these things, you may suddenly find yourself being asked more about what you do, and will realize that you need to keep a supply of your business card on hand for just such this type of occasion.
Call Hint of Feisty today to learn more about how you can better network, or if you have unanswered questions about things such as, “Why engage in referral marketing?” or want to know the best way to market yourself.
You may also want to read:
Communication: How It Can Impact Marketing Success