Networking events such as Business After Hours and organizations like BNI and Meetup.com provide great opportunities to meet and mingle with other, like-minded businesspeople outside their place of business in a more relaxed and non-threatening environment.
Unfortunately, some entrepreneurs do not get the most of this great opportunity because they feel awkward or simply don’t know what to say or do. Instead of getting excited to start building relationships, they end up heading for a quick exit, the buffet line, the bar, or the restroom. If this describes you, there is a better way.
To make this type of networking event feel comfortable and more enjoyable, you need to have a plan. When you’re prepared, you’ll feel more in control. Being in control can help relieve the anxiety of being in a new setting and situation.
Your plan should include making new friends, building relationships, giving before asking, and looking for opportunities to grow your business. It’s important to attend business networking events. They have a social aspect but are primarily created as places to develop mutually beneficial business relationships.
4 Simple but Powerful Questions to Ask of Every New Contact
- “What do you do?”
- “How long have you been doing that?”
- “What do you like best about what you do?”
- “How would I know if someone in my circle of contacts would be a good referral for you?”
The first three questions provide an opportunity for the other person to talk about themselves, which everyone likes doing. They also allow you to start building a bond and relationship by getting to know about the other person and their interests.
The last question is the key. It will make you stand out and also serve notice to the other person that you want to help them grow their business. (Remember: you give before you get.) At the same time, it plants a seed in their mind that this in turn is also what you are there to do.
You now have a simple but very effective network marketing plan.
At your next networking event, remember to ask these four simple questions. Doing so will give you the confidence to feel like you’re where you want to be and know exactly what you’re doing there.