Some things to do AND to avoid at networking events

I’ve had a few emails following on from my last blog post about BNI.  That’s great.  Some of the questions were a little surprising however, so I felt that I should offer some advice to those who attend different networking events.  Here are five golden rules.

First tip – be a good scout and arrive prepared!

Find out what the culture is within the group you are going to visit.  By knowing what’s expected, you will make a great impression.  See if you can identify any of the attendees and if any of them would be on your introductions wish list, perhaps you know a person who could introduce you to that potential contact while you are all in the room together.  Bring your business cards and a small notebook so you can write things down as you go.  Don’t use those moments after a new introduction to scour the room for your next prospect – write down as much as you can about that chat you’ve just enjoyed and make sure to write down what had been agreed as a follow up.

Second tip – know what you’re going to say

You know that people will ask you to tell them what you do, so have something interesting to say.  You’ll have about 30 seconds to impress or they’ll mentally check-out of the conversation so don’t start telling people what you are – it’s much more interesting to tell them what you do.  So in my case I could say:

A)     I’m an internet marketing and sales consultant who focuses on systems and service       OR

B)      I help people make more money in their business and have more fun doing it

Which answer above leaves the door open for more conversation?

Third tip – respect other people’s time

DON’T BE A BORE OR A STALKER!  If you know people in the room that’s great, but avoid them.  The point of networking is to make new connections with people.  Look out for new faces, read name badges and do not stick like glue to the first person who’s nice to you and follow them around for the night.  Remember that everyone is there to make new connections.  Establish if you can help the person you’ve met or if they could help you.  If they would like to meet, exchange contact details and agree to make contact and arrange a conversation over coffee sometime in the next five working days (Don’t let the grass grow under your feet).  This allows you to meet others but also allows them the same opportunity.  Like I said, respect their time.

Fourth tip – ask about others first

Everybody loves to be asked about themselves and to feel as though you are genuinely interested in them (Which of course you will always be) – nobody likes to hear a person rattle on for ages about who they are or what they do.  As a rule of thumb, if you are trying to develop a relationship with a person it starts with you showing them lots of attention and listening rather than talking – think about having two ears and one mouth, use proportionately please.

Fifth tip – follow up

If you have met a great contact and think that you could help them and they could help you, please follow up on the items you had agreed to.  Your great start could come crashing to a bitter end if you fail to call them when you said you would or by failing to carry out an action that you had promised.  That’s why it is really important to take notes and have a system in place.  Great things rarely happen accidentally.

Within BNI our members can avail of training and development in all of these areas.  This learning can be applied to other networking groups, your own business or even dating (But I wouldn’t recommend the latter).  People who get nervous about going into open rooms for networking events are normally suffering from the same type of anxiety that’s brought on by not being prepared.  Networking can be great fun and a massive source of dream clients.  Before your next event, have a plan, set a target for the people you would like to meet – even if that’s just a number and NO STALKING.  Keep moving around the room and be alert for new connections.

As a closing thought, networking should be treated in exactly the same way and any other marketing strategy.  You need to have a plan, know the desired results and measure your investment of time, energy or money.  It has never been so important to reach out to other local businesses and pull together so plan to visit networking groups and have a plan for what to do once you get there too.

Successful Business Networking

Getting together with other business people can make all the difference when trying to generate new business for your company. Why? Well, here’s a simple explanation of my point of view on this:

Take out your mobile phone and check how many contacts there are contained within your contacts folder. My guess is that it’s more than 250 people with the average being slightly higher than that.

Now imagine that I invited you to join me at a meeting with 20 other business people (All with their mobile phones / contacts in their pockets) where you will have an opportunity to request an introduction to a target client from a person in the room who your target client knows, likes and trusts.  If you call that target client after being introduced and your target client has heard how you add value for your clients, how likely is it that you will have their full attention?  That’s the difference between a qualified referral or introduction versus a “Cold call”.  I’m sure you love cold calling, right?

In a snapshot, that’s what BNI is all about, giving more business to it’s members and ensuring that qualified introductions are made When a BNI member calls a person to whom an introduction has already been made, they will have a genuine opportunity to do business.

BNI Galway | Networking group Galway | Find More Business

When we examine the way in which we do business today, it has never been more important to build great relationships with your clients and within the local business community.  Word of mouth marketing is the most cost effective manner of promoting your business and typically produces either most of, or the most profitable type of, business conducted in any organisation.

BNI is the most successful organisation of its type in the world.  There are currently thousands of chapters in operation with tens of thousands of members.  Members of BNI have passed millions of referrals and this translates into billions of euros worth of NEW business being done between the members.  Of the worldwide totals, over half a million referrals were passed in the UK and Ireland, resulting in over €270 million worth of business for our members IN THE LAST YEAR ALONE!

In GALWAY, BNI has generated over €4.2 million for it’s members between our four Chapters and we continue to increase this figure weekly.

We follow a structured agenda that is proven to maximise the business that is passed in any BNI Chapter that has been developed by BNI and refined over the past 25 years, all around the globe.  A part of the process is that members have the opportunity every week to educate their fellow members on the type of business that they would like introductions for and how to introduce them successfully to meet a requirement from other members contact spheres.  If I told you that a good introduction for me was an business person who sells their products online, how many people within your contact sphere do you think you could introduce me to?

At BNI we use the philosophy that “Givers Gain”.  If you give me a referral, then I will want to give you a referral in return and thus we work in partnership to win new business for our respective companies.  Being a member in a BNI Chapter gives you the power of a twenty plus member sales team who all know what type of business you are looking for, how you would like to be introduced, how you add value for your clients and who will actively listen out for opportunities for you to do business within their contact spheres.

If you could handle some more business and would like to join us for a meeting, or if you would like to find out a little more about BNI, please give me a call, my number is listed below, and I can show you first-hand why we say that “Missing breakfast can be seriously bad for your WEALTH” :)