I’m a big fan of networking to build your business.
So here I want to go over an opportunity that people are missing big time when trying to build their networks and make friends with people, especially when they’re at a free business networking event.
Firstly “work the room” and collect as many cards as you possibly can, take a real interest in people and certainly make friends. If you can meet 4 people and have a genuine conversation with each of them, then you’ve had a successful event.
Networking is about making relationships, so try to figure out what that person needs and wants – this will make you more comfortable to deal with and trusted.
When someone offers you their card, please don’t refuse to take it, as I saw someone do to a friend of mine recently. This guy thought he was doing my friend a favour, as he didn’t want to take a card unnecessarily, but he ended up being ridiculed by me, and upsetting my friend.
You can always throw it away later (although you never know if that person might be useful, so I wouldn’t) but there’s really no need to be rude. Think about how you might feel if someone did that to you – it wouldn’t feel good.
Also make sure you ask the right questions e.g. “tell me more about how you started” and “how can I help you grow your business?” This will not only make the other person more comfortable but also more inclined to like you and do business with you!
One thing that I hear too often is the phrase, ‘call me or I will call you’ which rarely happens…
Instead become a matchmaker for people in the room (each person will be worth something to someone), talk to people, understand them and seek out hidden opportunities or hidden assets that particular person is not leveraging.