If you are a small business owner you’ve no doubt heard that participating in networking events is key to building your business.
And, if you are like most people, the thought of attending a networking event causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat! Here are 5 simple strategies, many of which a Virtual Assistant can help you with; so that you can concentrate on becoming a Networking event star. You won’t even need that cup of chamomile tea or lavender oil if you have your VA working by your side.
- Bring your business cards (yes, they are still VERY relevant and useful at in-person events)! Prior to the event, have your VA check your business cards, to make sure all of the information is current. Now would be a good time to check the number of cards you have and, if you need a reorder, your VA can handle that as well.
- If there is an attendee list published prior to the event, you can have your VA research the list to find 4-5 people (potential clients) that are a good fit for your business and to whom you want to speak with at the event. Have your VA connect with them on social media. A pre-event introduction can make the in-person connection much easier.
- Practice your 30-second “Elevator Speech”. UC Davis put together a great article on how to create your Elevator Speech if you have not done so already. You can find it here: The 30 Second Elevator Speech from UC Davis. Many Virtual Assistants specialize in content creation and business writing and can assist you in the creation of your speech.
Do Not Monopolize the Conversation — Ask Questions and Listen!
- Make sure to use their name when speaking to them. As Dale Carnegie suggests in his famous book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, “A person’s name…is the sweetest, most important sound in any language.”
- Ask what THEY struggle within their small business
- Listen to their responses to see if there is something YOU can do for THEM.
- Be sure to take notes. When your notes are completed, send them to your VA for transcription.
Do Not Be “Salesy”
- If you ask questions and listen, you will be seen as a “collaborator”, rather than a salesperson.
- DON’T hand out your card to every person you see! Instead, ask for THEIR card. This gesture will show them that you are genuinely interested in them and not just pushing your services.
- Bring the collected cards back and have your VA enter them into your CRM system.
Follow Up — Networking Doesn’t End When The Event Does!
- A sincere follow-up can build a stronger connection and a potential new client! There are programs like, Send Out Cards, that your VA can access, on your behalf, and send out to your new contacts.
- Send an email to all persons you made contact with, referencing your conversation. Again, this is a task that can easily be handled by your VA.
- Be genuinely interested in other people
- Remember the person’s name
- Be a good listener
- Talk in terms of other people’s interests
- Make the other person feel important
Meeting new people at networking events is tough, and you may feel way out of your “comfort zone”, but rest assured that it will get easier with practice. If you go into the event with a plan of action and practice the tips above while you are there, you will be a Networking STAR in no time!
If you need help with your networking pre and post-work and would like to collaborate with a professional Virtual Assistant, IVAA offers a FREE RFP system for you. Simply post your VA needs and our members will reply to you with a proposal. Click here to learn about submitting an RFP
Karen Kannegiesser is an online business resource assistant with over three decades of C-suite level executive administrative and supply chain expertise. She has many years as a strategic MRO buyer for a large specialty chemical manufacturer, as well as an extensive background in database management, project management, contract administration, and business continuity/disaster recovery preparedness. www.LotusBusinessResources.com