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Preparation is the Key to Best Results from Your Networking Efforts

Preparation is the Key to Best Results from Your Networking Efforts

You just signed up for an amazing business conference or you just joined a networking group. How can you get the most out of it? It’s best to be prepared!

Before the Event:

Is your message congruent with who you are? Now is the time to make adjustments.Let me tell you about my friend, Matt. When I first met him, he was selling life insurance. He was well liked by people he would meet out networking, but when he would give his one minute commercial, it was a struggle for him. The thing was deep down, Matt didn’t want to sell insurance. He really wanted to go back into Life Coaching and become a Motivational Speaker. Once he made the switch, it was night and day how he shined when he talked about what he did. Do you shine when you talk about your work or do you need to make an adjustment?

Do you have all the marketing materials you need? It’s time to order business cards and/or brochures.

What will be your call to action? Are you inviting people you meet to opt-in to your email list? Are you looking for speaking engagements? Are you inviting others you meet to an upcoming event you are having?

Do you know how to answer the question “What is your business?” Review and revise your message. I _____ (action verb) my _______ (target market) with _______. Sample for a Financial Advisor: I help couples who own a home to become financially independent.

During the Event:

It’s never about you. When you meet new people or reconnect with someone from the past, it is always better if you don’t spend all your time talking about you and trying to convince them to buy your product. Be all about them. Ask yourself, how can you help those you are connecting with? That’s how you can be most memorable!

Quality not quantity. Don’t consider yourself a failure you don’t come home with a TON of business cards. You are really looking to connect with just 2-3 people at every event.

Ask for what you need. You deserve it! Are you looking to meet a certain Community Leader? Tell everyone you meet how this connection would help you. Don’t hesitate to ask. You never know who knows that person!

Divide and conquer. Attend with a Power Partner. It’s always more fun to attend an event with a friend. During networking time, don’t just talk to your friend. Split up to work the room. When you meet new people and you find someone that would be a great connection for your friend, you can introduce them.

If possible, schedule appointments to follow up with those you meet while still at the event. Pull out your calendar and schedule time to follow up right on the spot. Book a coffee appointment, plan to talk in Skype, or invite them to visit you at your office.

After the Event:

You schedule time for the event on your calendar. Schedule follow up time, too.Within a day or two of the event, mark off time on your calendar to reach out to those you meet–even if it’s just an hour.

Who can you develop a relationship with? Who can you do business with? Who can you refer to? Sort all the business cards you collected. Not everyone you meet will be someone you want to have a lifetime relationship with, but it helps if you reach out right away to those you do want to connect with.

Request connections on Social Media so you can stay in touch. Make connecting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter part of your follow up.

Lastly, ask yourself: What do you need to do before your next event? What changes do you need to make in your follow up after events?

Terilee Harrison helps entrepreneurs get referrals, clients, and leads using proven offline and online marketing strategies. Book your referral strategy session here.

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