Networking and growing a business go hand and hand. However, many business owners dread the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and chatting up their business. To ease your anxiety and quell your fear, we put together a list of business networking tips that will help you navigate the networking scene and build successful, profitable relationships that will propel your business forward.
Attend Business Networking Events or Meetings
This should go without saying, but the first step in successful networking is knowing where to go to make connections. Almost any event or activity you attend can serve as a networking opportunity, however, local business events will be a more structured place to start. You might start by searching for the best business networking groups Columbia SC has to offer, finding one that’s designed to help business owners like yourself meet others and gain mutually beneficial referrals. You can also search for local professional associations and societies that are related to your industry and see if they host events or meetings. https://scbdc.com/
Ask Questions and Get Involved
Instead of waiting for someone in the group to approach you, move about the room, and start a conversation with an available individual. The best way to break the ice and get a conversation going is to start with some easy, casual questions. It’s helpful to keep in mind that those in attendance are there for the same reasons as you, so open the door for discussion.
Skip The Sales Pitch
As a new business owner, you’re eager to drum up new business and you’re excited to talk about what you have to offer. However, networking is all about building long-term relationships. So keep your exchanges light, fun, and mostly informal. No one wants to hear a sales pitch as an introduction, they want to get to know you as a person and the rest will follow naturally. Your main intent should be to get the conversation going. People are far more likely to connect with you and eventually do business with you when they get to know you first.
Let Your Passion Shine
When the time comes to discuss what you do or what you offer, don’t dull your passion and enthusiasm. The more animated and excited you are as you tell your story and discuss your business, the more your innate passion for what you do will shine through, and the more your potential customer will see the joy you have for your business. This will also invite the other party to share their passions with you, creating a memorable two-way connection and conversation.
Always Follow Up
Networking is where the conversation begins, not ends. If you find yourself in a great conversation, ask the other party what the best way is to keep in touch. This will open the door for an email or phone number exchange or even a future meeting to take the discussion to the next level. If you become a member of a local business networking group, you will likely see this person week after week, but may still want to meet outside of the group for additional conversation.
Get Out There and Get Social!
Find a small business networking group near you and put yourself and your business out there. The only way to succeed in business is to make sure that people know who you are and what you have to offer.
Provide value and build relationships and the rest will follow.