Joining a local business networking group is a great way to get you and your business face time with other small business owners in your area. Attending these events takes time and effort, so here are a few tips to get the most out of these networking groups.
1) Join and attend networking groups and events BEFORE you need the business.
Building business relationships takes time. Give others in your group the time to get to know you and your business so they feel comfortable referring their clients to you.
2) Don’t sit with others you already work with.
Seems obvious, but the tendency is for many to go and mingle and sit next to others you are already doing business with. Yes, you want to keep these relationships strong, but take this opportunity to get to know new people.
3) Attend the networking meetings and events regularly.
It is important for others to see you at these meetings and events. It will help create better relationships with the others in the group and give them the feeling that you take your business seriously.
4) Don’t only talk about business.
Wait… What? You might be thinking, ‘isn’t that the reason I am going?’. Yes, that is the overall purpose, but for others to trust you with their clients, they want to know you. Let them know you are involved in the community. Talk about your child’s soccer team or a new local restaurant you recently tried. This will help them see you as a real person.
5) Don’t do all the talking.
This is a lesson you learned in kindergarten… be a good listener. Showing consideration and not dominating every conversion will go a long way in building good business relationships.