Basically, if you’re selling products or services for consumers, every networking event is filled with potential customers. Entrepreneurs buy consumer products and services too. And if you sell products and services for business use? You’re still in the right place.
Here are some tips for generating new clients by attending networking events.
Have your elevator speech ready.
What’s an elevator speech? It’s basically a super-short, interesting summary of who you are and what you do. Short means about 30 seconds or less, allowing you to get the point across even if you don’t have the other person’s attention for long. Use it when you meet people for the first time. It’s an ice breaker that may lead to questions about your business. At the very least, the person on the receiving end learns who to contact when he or she needs the product or service you provide.
Give out business cards.
As you introduce yourself and strike up conversations, pass out your business cards. Sure, you have a great website, and everyone in the room has smartphones, but business cards give people a tangible way to remember you and what you have to offer after the night is over. Let’s face it. It’s hard to remember phone numbers and website addresses when you’ve only heard them once.
You’re not there to take orders and collect cash, right? You’re at a networking event to network. Go ahead and do that. If you are friendly and interesting, attendees will remember you in a positive light and be more likely to call on you when they need something. If you go around the event pitching your products and services, you’ll only turn other attendees off. It is okay, however, to insert what you do into relevant conversation. For example, if a group is discussing computer problems and you repair computers, share how you’ve handled similar problems for your clients.
Make sure attendees know you’re willing and able to help. Be willing to share information and resources or make introductions. Share insights and offer to meet up to continue conversations in the future. This makes you more memorable, which may lead to sales and referrals.
Ask for referrals and recommendations.
No one knows what you need unless you ask for it. Get to know at least a few of the event attendees, and share your goals and objectives with them. Share how referrals and recommendations can help your business, and be willing to reciprocate.
Generating new clients is an ongoing process. To increase your client base, you have to remember that potential clients are everywhere, even at networking events. With this in mind, you will always be ready to reel a new client in.