The thought of networking at conferences and industry events makes some entrepreneurs nauseous. If you go into it feeling uncomfortable, your results will be disastrous. Networking is a major part of being a successful entrepreneur, so it’s in your best interest to get good at it — really, really good at it.
Here is a simple plan to make connections and unlock new opportunities by transforming into a networking beast.
1. Identify your goals before you even arrive at the event.
You should have all of your goals identified before the event.
- What are you looking to get out of the event?
- Are you there to prospect for leads?
- What attendees do you want to target?
- What speakers do you want to target?
Reach out to the targets that you know will be attending in advance. Exchange contact details and stay in touch — plan to meet in the evening and belly up to the bar. Some of your most valuable connections will be born at the venue hotel bar.
2. Leave your sales pitch at home.
Remember that you aren’t there to sell. Avoid rambling off the reasons why your product or service is the best. Instead, ask everyone whom you speak with if there is anything you can do to help their business. This unselfish approach will leave an impression that guarantees they will answer your phone call or email after the conference.
This strategy helps you set the table for a future discussion. Don’t forget to follow up with everyone — open up a dialogue within 72 hours of the event. This helps to ensure your encounter remains fresh in your new contact’s mind.