The benefits of networking events are often discounted or overlooked by business owners. Some feel that they don’t provide a significant return for the time and effort invested. Typically, people go to these events with a specific objective in mind. They might want to gain new clients, meet prospective candidates for employment, or forge a mutually beneficial business relationship. However, not every business networking event attended is going to provide the instant gratification of a valuable connection.
You never know which event will yield that connection, provide professional inspiration or an innovative business idea. It’s about putting yourself out there and becoming known in your business community. With so many others trying to do the same thing, how do you make yourself stand out in the crowd? The key is to be memorable, so when the need for your services or expertise arises, your name will be a the top of the list. Here are some great ways to make a lasting impression.
It might seem counterproductive but most people love to talk about themselves. Ask open-ended, thoughtful questions, providing them the opportunity to share a bit about themselves and their business. People are more likely to remember someone who shows interest in them rather than some who just talks about themselves.
Find Common Ground
Asking questions may also reveal something you have in common with others. It doesn’t have to be business related. Maybe you both enjoy the same sport or hobby. People tend to like and trust others with similar interests. Identifying common ground helps create a bond and makes you more memorable.
Spark Their Interest
It’s inevitable at business networking events – everyone asks “what do you do?”. Your answer should be more interesting than “ I own a restaurant” or “I”m in retail”. You want the answer to create interest and arouse their curiosity. For example, here at CapFlow Funding, the simple answer would be “We provide business funding”. The answer that gets someone’s attention and sparks their interest is “We help businesses realize their potential”. The second answer is not only memorable but makes people want to know more.
Show Off Your Style
Did you ever go to a business networking event and think everyone looks the same? After all, a gray suit is just a gray suit. There nothing eye-catching or interesting about it. Find a style or fashion accessory that is uniquely yours. Think of Zuckerberg’s signature gray T-shirts or CoCo Chanel’s pearls. Let your personal style shine. Be the guy with the crazy ties or the woman who always wears a statement piece of jewelry.
Identify Follow-Up Opportunities
It can be difficult to remember someone you’ve only met once or only spoke to briefly, especially when they are meeting a lot of other people at the same event. So whenever possible, follow up on that first meeting. Business cards are commonplace at networking events. Make notes on the back of the cards regarding topics you discussed or something you have in common with that person. This will give you the opportunity to reach out after the event by sending them an article or information about an event that might interest them. This gives people more reason to remember you.
Business Networking Can Create Effective Partnerships
You never know where you’ll make that connection or when it will be beneficial. However, on the occasions when it results in a productive partnership, you’ll be glad you made the investment in business networking. Know someone whose business could use a little help reaching its full potential? Keep CapFlow in mind. In addition to our funding options, we also offer sales and referral programs. When you’re ready to get started, let us know.