Updated: Apr 8, 2019
So although we haven't been around for too long in the game we have dived head first into Networking. I am only going to talk about free events as there are loads of paid for Networking events like BNI, BoB and all the other acronyms and I totally believe they are worth it for some industries but not all. If you are a start up and are just trying to get your name around through there are loads of amazing events this is more a way to optimise your time at those events.
At a networking event it is good to stand out. You want to be remembered and the easiest way to do that is wearing your company colours etc. The ladies from JBISUISD Recruitment often show up in matching red coats that for one show they are part of the same company and secondly the next time you see them you instantly recognise who they are. At JK I have recently started to wear a Hawaiian shirt and Joe wears a matching Hawaiian Tie. It makes people stop and talk to us as well as remembering who we are.
2. Follow up with everyone
This is the most important thing you can do with Networking. Ensure you follow up with everyone after. Whether that is adding them on LinkedIn or sending them an email. Adding them on LinkedIn ensures they will continue to be exposed to your marketing efforts. Make sure that your follow up email is personal, bring up things you talked about, how the show was. Authenticity is key.
3. Know your stuff? Talk about it
Lots of networking events have a speaker. If you know your stuff about your subject area and think other people would want to know, message the organiser and see if you can speak at the event. Doing this gives you the opportunity to showcase your business and will increase your profile in the local circles.
4. Business Cards
A simple one... but always have a business card. This will allow people to follow up with you also. I suggest that if you don't have a business card yet that you begin by adding people on LinkedIn as you talk to them.
5. Don't burn yourself out
You could quite easily be at a networking event 2 times a day 5 days a week. At JK we are firm believers that networking should be a part of your marketing schedule but don't over do it. There will be events that you find work better for you and after you have been to a few you can find the ones best for you.
6. Networking is about relationships, not sales
There is a unwritten rule around networking. You shouldn't go to a networking event with the thoughts of making a hard sale. Networking events are supposed to be about getting to know what other people do and helping to get them work. You might find that people at the event do need your services and it is more than acceptable to tell them what you do and follow up with them in the future.
Have a look out our Kent Networking Calendar on our site!