Since I’ve been an entrepreneur, I understand the importance of networking, and with social media so popular, there is no way around it. It is very important to network with others in the industry that you work in to become familiar with the who’s who in the industry, share ideas and experiences. The value that event professionals gain by networking is meeting other professionals who may be potential clients and/or recommend you to their client or future clients.
TWO important things to remember:
1. Attend all networking events with a specific purpose in mind.
Personally for me, I don’t think it is necessary to attend every industry related event or party because I’m pretty familiar with who I need to be familiar with in Los Angeles and not all events are in my niche.
2. Surround yourself with people who can help you.
It makes sense to surround yourself with those who have something you lack and need, and networking events are certainly ideal places to find such people.
If I’m at an event and there are 100 people or just 10 people and I leave only meeting or connecting with one person there, that is okay (with ME). I only surround myself with individuals who I believe I can help and vice versa and I usually am able to pin point that at any event I attend.
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The bottom line is this: In order for your business to grow and to build your brand you must form relationships with others in the industry. Networking is just one way and that is why it is important to network and market yourself and business. Honestly, if YOU don’t put yourself or company out there, no one else will. And let’s not forget the importance of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram), these are equally as important to market your brand and company. write about the importance of following up, which is equally just as important. Six TIPS on how to follow up with potential client(s) and/or other professionals in your industry are:
1. Since Social Networking has pretty much taken over, there is pretty much no excuse why you do not follow up. Look that person or company up, start following them on Twitter and Instagram, “Like” their Facebook page, find them on LinkedIn and most importantly once you have done all this, engage in conversation and keep in touch.
2. Prepare a handwritten note or card. Personally, I immediately send an email to potential clients and/or professional counterparts thanking them, etc. It’s a personal touch and people love that.
3. If you are short on time, opt for a less personal but equally effective thank you by sending a text message to the prospective client’s cell phone thanking them for their time.
4. Schedule a follow up meeting.
5. ALWAYS say thank you.
6. Ask for referrals. If they are happy with your services they will give you names of others that will benefit from your services. This is networking!!!
As a networking professional, you clearly understand the importance of follow up in a timely and respectful manner. Facilitating business and building your network is key and that is your focus when meeting other business professionals.
The party is officially over and you have gotten some great contacts and possibly leads that can turn into referrals or viable business contacts. Now the question is what are you going to do with them?