People like to do business with people they trust. The best way to get someone to trust you is to get to know them, which you can do by going to networking events. Networking is the least expensive way to market your business effectively.
If people don’t know who are you or what you do, they won’t call you or do business with you. You have two options to get people to know who you are:
You can go to free networking events and meet people.
When you’re networking, you’re not just selling your business; you’re building long-term relationships. As your new contacts begin to trust you, they’ll start recommending you to their friends, family, and clients. So, when you go to a networking event, you’re not just marketing to people in the room, but to everyone they know.
5 Steps for Promoting Your Business at Networking Events
Attending networking events to promote your business is a little different than going to events looking to meet a mentor or make more general connections. When you’re trying to market your business, make sure you’re choosing the right kind of events, setting realistic goals, and meeting people who will want to do business with you.
1. Choose the Right Event
There are a lot of networking events out there, so it’s important to go to events that are going to be the most beneficial for your company. Choose events that are designed to promote businesses and meet other business owners, instead of events that are more socially-oriented.
If you don’t know where to start, look for trade shows or events hosted by your local Chamber of Commerce.
2. Set a Goal
After you’ve chosen your networking event, set a goal. Maybe you’re looking for new customers or new prospects. Remember, however, that networking is about developing long-term relationships, so you’re not going to meet your goal the first time you go to an event. Instead, you’re going to meet people who will help you reach your goal further down the road.
3. Target Specific People
Once you’re at a networking event, don’t just hand your business cards out to everyone you see. Figure out who in the room you want to meet, then go introduce yourself. You should only give your business card to people you’ve been talking to during the event to keep in touch or if someone specifically asks for your card.
4. Don’t Start with the Hard Sell
When you meet someone new, don’t jump right into your business – you’ll turn a lot of people away. Instead, get to know the person, find out what their goals are, then determine how you can help them. If you make a genuine effort to get to know them and help them, they’ll help you reach your goals, too.
5. Follow Up
Your work isn’t done when you leave a networking event. Follow up with everyone you met after the event, so they don’t forget about you. Introductions are made during networking events, but relationships are formed after the event.