When drumming up new business, almost everyone is reaching out to consumers via social media and/or direct mail campaigns. Meeting new people at after hour networking can be a challenge for some personalities. Here are some tips on how to tackle the after hour networking event:
Don't be shy when it comes to networking. You need to put yourself out there and think of every interaction as a networking opportunity. If you tend to be shy in this environment, you can overcome that by being prepared. Find volunteer opportunities that will help you get comfortable talking with strangers to overcome your shyness.
Don't just think of the traditional happy hour events as your only place to find new business. Try to engage with people everywhere you go. You never know where your next customer may come from. Example - while at the dog park and talking with another dog owner, it came up we own MMP and they happen to need a poster rushed the next week. We gained a customer by interacting with other dog owners. Keep your business cards on you at all times for these unexpected opportunities.
Don't overwhelm people with a long elevator pitch. Make the pitch short, simple and relevant to the person you are engaging with. You will also want to find a way to stand out from everybody else.
Don't force a business relationship. Find commonality with people by sharing hobbies or passions before talking business. Not everyone you meet will become a customer, however, you never know if that introduction might turn into a referral.
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