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Getting the Best Out of Networking
Wandsworth Chamber Gives Members Lots of Opportunities
Most business people recognise the way that networking events help them raise their profile with local enterprises, find new suppliers and clients, as well as learn ways to improve their business through better marketing or website design.
Here are some tips to ensure you will make a good impression:
Bring plenty of business cards. Have your “postcard pitch” ready – that is a few short sentences explaining what your business is about – and what benefits it will bring to someone’s company. Research attendees beforehand if you can, so you will have an idea of who would be good to approach.
If you have leaflets or samples, these can be useful, depending on the venue. Many networking events have short pitch sessions, and you need to rehearse a couple of times unless you are an experienced public speaker.
A pitfall of some networkers is they talk all the time, and do not listen to what others are saying. Listening is a good skill to practice and you will learn useful things. If you want to say something, acknowlege the speaker’s key point.
Don’t Try To Hard Sell
Networking is about trust. You are not likely to make a sale to someone you just met, so it is unwise to try – what you should aim for is to build rapport with the people around. Then they will be more likely to want to work with you.
Bring Other Businesses
Steve Pinto, CEO Wandsworth Chamber, advises. “I always say to our members, treat it as corporate hospitality. Bring some of your businesses to an event, because you are showing them opportunities and they will be grateful to you for helping them.” If you can help some of your clients find extra work, they will usually reciprocate.
There’s no point in spending time at an event then putting all the business-cards in a drawer and letting them gather dust. Following up with a polite email, or better still a link of use to the person is a good way of moving forward.
Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce runs numerous networking events, from the ever-popular Business Breakfasts, to Metro Mondays in Clapham, through a variety of other local business networks in places like Putney and Earlsfield. Announcements are in the weekly email and posted on the website.
Julian Jackson is Wandsworth Chamber’s blogger, whose interests encompass technology, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the environment, as well as photography and film. His portfolio is here: