I love meeting potential new clients in person and networking is my #1 way to do this. However, when you are the owner of a small business your time is limited so practicing purposeful networking is a key to success.
Ooops. I’m at the Wrong Event
Why did this idea, purposeful networking, come to me? It was because I didn’t follow my own advice. As I sat in Unleashing the Economic Development Partnership of Women in Business I didn’t do my research.
I came because of the title of the event. I am starting a non-profit with a mission of creating wealth for Black Women so I thought that this was a workshop on increasing our economic power. It is actually a panel discussion on manufacturing hair and skin care and a new Innovation Center that will launch in 2020. So, it wasn’t the focus didn’t align with my intention.
If I’d known what the purpose of the roundtable discussion, I would have focused on my marketing business in my elevator pitch. As I found out, once I regrouped, there are a few potential leads and opportunities for my business here.
So I did what all entrepreneurs do? I adapted.
What is Purposeful Networking?
Purposeful networking is having a goal in mind when you step out the door and go to an event. Networking, as much as I enjoy it, is part of my sales process. For me and Customer 1st Marketing ( my B2B marketing strategy business), it is one of the most effective ways to get sales. It allows me to fast forward to the proposal step of my business. So I encourage you to practice purposeful networking with the following steps the next time you network.
Purposeful Networking Steps to Success
Before you go, research and understand the audience. Read the beginning of this blog. 😉
If you can, reach out to the people who maybe interested in your pitch before the event. If you can do this you will have successfully moved them in your sales lead process
Know your goals for the event. Do you want to collect 10 new cards? Is there a specfic person you want to meet?
Make a game plan. If my goal is to collect leads, then sitting in the front of a panel discussion is not the best move.
Go by yourself. I can’t do my thing if I have people who will deter me from my game plan. Meet your friends for lunch at the event or drinks after.
Listen closely. I listened to all the bios and created an elevator pitch for each person.
Follow Up. I think this is the hardest step for a number of reasons. But, if you practice purposeful networking, then this becomes easier. In place of just collecting business cards to add to your list, you will have collected cards that will grow your business. And if you are not motivated to enough to follow up, then perhaps its time to stop.
Drop me a comment the next time you practice purposeful networking. Success is yours.