Today we are going follow on from my last article where we looked at the first type of networking – your existing network – and how to develop it further.
The second type of networking is opportunistic. You go to an event, an exhibition, or a trade fair, where you will have opportunities to “work the room”. You can talk to people – at registration, and in the breaks.
If you attend an event that is relevant to your business, in that room could be potential clients, competitors, potential service providers to you and people you can team up with. I have not gone to an event where I have not come away with at least two or three cards of people to follow up with, however good or bad the event was.
The third category is planned networking. This is where you join a networking group for the specific purpose of building relationships and promoting your business. The only one I have time to do now is the Gatwick Diamond Business Association, which meets once a month. The website will give you a pretty good idea of what an organised networking group is all about.
Other networking groups are run by Chambers of Commerce, BNI and the IOD. For the ladies there is one which is called “Women in Business”. It’s worth going along as a guest/visitor to a few events to gauge which ones suit you best.
Once you have made a decision you will need to stick at it though, as it takes time to build trusted relationships. They are all variations on a theme, and generally give you an opportunity to tell your story to either your table, or the full group, depending on how many attendees there are.
This usually takes the form of an “elevator pitch”. An example of what I might say is displayed below:
Good morning everyone, my name is David Mellor from David Mellor Mentoring, based in the Gatwick Area.
- What do we do? We help business owners make more money and free up their time.
- How do we do that? We take them out of their natural habitat, we help them review where their business is, identify where they would like to take it, but most importantly we work alongside them for as long as it takes to help them get there.
- Benefits for them are that it puts them back in control of their business, and it gives them a direction and a focus, all of which lead to increased profitability.
- Typical issues that we find are that they are working far too many hours, they are not making enough money, they don’t trust any of their staff to do the job as well as they can and quite often they are lonely.
So if you know any business owners that show any of those symptoms, I would love to hear from them; just remember my name is David Mellor from David Mellor Mentoring in the Gatwick area – you have my contact details on my card.
Oh and don’t forget – you don’t want to end up like Christopher Columbus, who when he set off did not know where he was going, when he got there he did not know where he was, and when he got back he did not know where he had been. He did it all with somebody else’s money, but you probably don’t have that luxury. Thank you.
In an elevator pitch you tell people who you are, where you are based, what your business is, what you do, what makes you different, the kind of clients you are looking for, a reminder of how to contact you and finally some kind of memory hook or strap line which makes you memorable – in my case the Columbus story!