How to get the best out of networking

Useful tips

To make sure you get the best value from attending this event, it's worth spending some time preparing before the day.  Consider setting some objectives that are specific and measurable.  For example: To make three new contacts in a specific area or to set up an appointment with a delegate who works in a certain industry.

When setting your objectives, you might like to think about the following:

- How will you stand out from your competitors?
- Who are you looking to meet? (see notes below on identifying your ideal referral)
- What image do you want to create?
- Do you have examples of your work that you can talk about and refer potential clients to?

Networking Tip:  Avoid direct selling and be ready to help others

Achieving your objectives
Once you've set your objectives it's time to start thinking about how you're going to achieve them.  You'll have your own style already and there's no right or wrong answer but the following will help make sure you don't miss anything:

- Meet as many people as you can - Start coversations over anything to make sure that you come away with as many contacts as you feel necessary.

- Make notes - something that may seem insignificant at the time could be important when following up after the event.

- Ask questions - Questions are great to get your potential clients talking and it helps when you're approaching someone you don't know.  Have a think about some open ended questions that you could ask.
For example:  "What projects are you working on at the moment" or "What do you think of this product or that product?"
Before ending a conversation, establish how you can stay in contact (if you want to).  This may simply be exchanging business cards or could involve setting up an appointment.

- Get involved in as much of the event as you can. 

Networking Tip:  Use the one-2-one break out areas to make appointments and follow up with potential clients on the day

Introducing yourself to other businesses

Networking Tip: Be clear about what you do - potential clients need to quickly understand who, what, when & how

Prepare a short summary about your business explaining who you are and what you do.  This needn't be a practiced speech as you won't have to stand up and deliver it but you should have in mind all the points you want to get across.

Identifying your ideal referral

Networking Tip: Be clear about who you are looking to meet

The key to connecting with your ideal customer is to be specific about who you want to meet - Have this in mind and then be consistent in asking to be referred to this person or company.

When asked, many people would say ‘anyone’ is a good referral. Try to think of 'anyone' .... its a lot harder than you think!  However if someone were to say ‘I would like to meet a Solicitor that specialises in family law or an Accountant who specialises in Management Accounts’ it will immediately prompt others and the referral process can begin.

You can also choose how specific to be.  For example: make a general request ‘A Solicitor that specialises in family law’ or break it down further and ask for the name of a ‘family lawyer’ in a specific firm.

If you're struggling to be this specific, consider the following prompts:

- What type of business brings you in the most revenue? Surely these are the people you want to do business with. They're your ideal referral/customer.

- Where are they in the market? Are they a large business? 250 employees + A medium size business with 5-250 employees or a small business with less than 5 employees?

- Where geographically are you looking to do business?  Consider how far you would be willing to travel to meet with clients.

- What sector are you looking to target? Financial, law, property, health, lifestyle, telecomms etc.

- Who in the business do you want to speak to?  Hr Manager, Marketing Manager, Owner, Director etc

Any questions?
If you have any questions before the event, please contact us on 01384 359103.  Members of the team will also be on hand at the event to help you.