Many entrepreneurs I see out there networking do pretty good; you collect cards, make small talk, talk about what you do, offer to help others when you see a chance and at the very least you just show up which is half the battle.
The following are 6 BIG Networking Mistakes I typically see happening and what you can do instead:
1. You show up late or leave early making it really hard to talk to enough people or be seen. If you are seen coming in late…that is not a good thing you know; first impressions are killer. Instead come early, mingle around, work the room and seek out others you want to make sure you connect with before you leave. At the end make a beeline for those people you know you still wanted to connect with and make sure not to spend too much time with any one person, that’s what your follow up is for.
2. You don’t come prepared with enough business cards and think that passing out YOUR card is more important than getting everyone else’s. Don’t be a card shark passing your cards all around without first getting to know people. Always have an ample supply of business cards in your purse or car and keep them stocked.
3. You don’t come prepared with order forms or ways to make it easier for people to buy now, sign up now, etc. You always want to be prepared to take a potential customer’s money or credit card at all times. Print out some order forms or credit card slips and bring a flyer for what you’re selling. Have a smart phone to be able to schedule appointments or follow up calls on the spot.
4. You have very little or weak call to action when you’re in person. You may ask people if they’d be interested in what you have to offer or ask them if they want to meet for coffee but you aren’t giving them a compelling reason to buy today or scheduling an appointment on the spot. People are busy and you need to get them when they’re HOT. Have a special offer they can only get today, throw in a bonus to get them to sign up or buy today and if they wait they pay regular price or don’t get the bonuses. Or offer a special for a specific businessshed of people only, when they’re gone, they’re gone at that rate.
5. You’re not focused enough on getting people on your email list when you meet them in person so that you can continue to market to them after the event. You always want to ask if they’d like to receive your emails, info, tips, freebies, etc. when you meet them so you can then go back and add them to your email newsletter list or database….otherwise YOU SHOULD NOT, that is considered SPAMMING! Of course then yes, you do need to be doing effective email marketing as well.
6. But the BIGGEST MISTAKE I see however and probably happening with 99% of small business owners, especially home based business owners is that you don’t do any follow up or so little that it isn’t doing you any good anyway. You need to outline a clear system for what you will say and send how and when after each event. You want to develop templates on what to say, what you’ll email, mail and even talk about on the phone for follow up calls. Having templates allows you to get more done faster since you’re probably going to say similar things to each person anyway – do it on purpose and then it will get done.