Although Internet marketing and social media marketing have become popular in business, business networking hasn’t been replace in importance. Business networking events usually take place at a physical location, so that business owners and other business people can interact with each other.
It’s easier to connect with and trust someone when you’re communicating face-to-face. Below we will further explain:
- What business networking events are;
- Why they’re important for business;
- How you can use them to improve your business.
What Are Business Networking Events?
Business networking events are events in which entrepreneurs and business people meet with each other to form important business relationships. Some of these connections transform into strategic partnerships that benefit both businesses. Networking events can help you find new areas for expanding your business. It can also lead to new B2B clients and joint ventures.
Whether you’re new to business or a veteran, attending business networking events is advantageous. Regular networking increases your visibility and keeps you on the minds of others in your industry. Business networking events also keep you up-to-date on changes in the industry. Sometimes there are keynote speakers or workshops at these types of events. You’ll find yourself learning many new things. Another benefit of business networking is you can connect with the right experts you’re in need of. For example, if you’re looking for a trustworthy accountant, you may find one at a networking event.
Who Uses Business Networking Events?
Entrepreneurs, business owners, business people, and independent contractors use business networking events to increase their income through networking. They know that the relationships they build and nurture will help their businesses grow. Networking events are usually hosted by organizations and business networking groups. They are almost always face-to-face events as well. The Internet and mobile phones are helpful for fast communication and keeping in touch. But they aren’t a replacement for face-to-face interaction.
Business networking events can either be national or local. This gives you ample opportunities to connect with people across the country and within your city. Business networking groups commonly meet once a month, but some meet more frequently. Networking events sometimes lead to great friendships with like-minded people as well. Entrepreneurs and other business people have trouble forming relationships with those who aren’t in business due to their differences in mindset.
Ways in Which Business Networking Events Can Help Your Business
- Increase in Quality Referrals: Some of the most qualified leads you’ll find are at business networking events. B2B sales typically generate more revenue than B2C sales. If you hit it off with someone at a networking event and they start buying from your company, you’ll likely have a long-term customer that regularly places orders with your business.
- Connect with Highly Influential People: Business networking events allow you to connect with highly influential people whom you wouldn’t have been able to communicate with otherwise. These connections sometimes lead to business opportunities. But you can also call on them for advice.
- Business Opportunities: You will receive many business opportunities at networking events. Examples of opportunities that may come your way are speaking and writing opportunities, joint ventures, and partnerships.
- Positive Influence: The state of mind of a leader influences the behavior of those under them. Thus, it’s important for a leader to stay motivated and serve as a good example in their organization. Networking helps you keep a positive mindset because you’re surrounded by other positive, motivated individuals.
5 Tips to Successfully Attend Business Networking Events
1. Be Selective about Which Opportunities You Pursue
Not every speaking offer or partnership idea is in line with your business’s goals and vision. Always ask yourself if an opportunity is congruent with your goals and vision before accepting it.
2. Focus on Helping Others and Learning about Their Businesses
A common mistake people make when they’re new to business networking is talking too much about their businesses. You must show a genuine interest in what the other person does.
Also think about how you can help others more than how they can help you. You’ll have better success in networking when you focus on helping others and learning about their businesses.
3. Come Prepared with Open-Ended Questions
If you want to keep a conversation going and avoid awkward moments, you should plan open-ended questions you can ask people. Try to make these questions unique while relevant.
Asking unique questions helps you stand out. Everyone will ask what do you do? Other questions you could ask are what do you hope to accomplish? and are you working on any interesting projects?
4. Know How to Disengage Politely
Whether you’re not interested in what someone has to say or you would like to mingle with others, it’s important to know how to disengage politely. If you need to use the restroom, you can excuse yourself to the restroom. Other ways to politely end a conversation are to let them know you would like to continue meeting others or say there’s someone you need to speak with.
Don’t look around the room, over their shoulder, or at your watch if you’re uninterested. It’s better to politely move away from the conversation and connect with others.
5. Don’t Answer the Phone While Talking to Someone
Your phone should actually be on vibrate or silent during business networking events. Only answer the phone if you’re expecting an important call. But always inform a person you start talking to that there may be an important call you need to answer and apologize in advance.
That way, you won’t be perceived as rude if the call comes and you won’t be anxious about missing it during the networking event.
To Your Future Network
Business networking events help attract new leads for your business and important business relationships. As long as you remember to focus on connecting with people instead of selling or growing your business, you’ll enjoy the many benefits of networking. You may feel tempted to act on any opportunity that arises through an event. But always first ask yourself if it’s in line with your business goals and vision. Not every opportunity is one you should follow through on.
Have you been to a networking event before? Let us know if you have any other tips for business networking.