B-to-B Insights: Face-to-Face
For $350, I became that month's sponsor. This entitled me to put a placard advertising my services on the registration table at the meeting and also to run a free banner ad in the chapter e-newsletter. Most important, the meeting chairperson acknowledged me as the sponsor in her comments. Attendance was small—just 28 people—but I got two great leads, both from Fortune 500 prospects.
If you're not interested in being a speaker, or if sponsoring a meeting isn't in your budget, consider this: Another great way to get noticed and to network is to volunteer to head one of the committees, such as the chapter newsletter or finding guest speakers. This automatically puts a spotlight on you without you having to impose yourself on others.
Networking Etiquette, Expectations and Goals
What are your goals when networking? One objective is to make personal connections with people in a position to help you. These people include not only potential customers but colleagues, vendors and referral sources.
Some networkers measure their networking success by counting business cards collected or business cards handed out.
Here's a tip: Wear a jacket with two pockets. Your business cards are kept in the left-hand pocket; the business cards you collect in the right-hand pocket. Other goals may include talking to 10 new people, finding one strong lead or discovering a new resource.
"Of all the marketing tools, networking is the most effective," says Ilise Benun of Marketing Mentor, a marketing consultancy.
Benun defines networking as building and nurturing relationships by talking to people "just like you." These relationships are built by learning from others, helping out and making connections, she notes.
Even though your desire is to get business from networking, don't push for the lead or sale directly. If you do, you'll be perceived as a huckster who offers little value and isn't worth knowing.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.