As 2014 gets underway, what changes can you make to grow your #manufacturing or your #consulting clientele? Networking is an ideal way to do this, but you need to know how to do it "correctly." Chances are you have attended networking or industry events where you meet people, shake hands then walk away with a stack of business cards that end up in the bottom of your briefcase. This is a wasted opportunity for you and your business and for the individual who simply handed you a card without getting to know you and vice versa.
If you don't spend at least a bit of time with someone you've met at a networking event how will you ever determine whether the two of you are a match or even whether you could introduce him to someone with whom he might be a better business match. You can't partner with, or recommend, someone without understand what they do -- without having truly connected. The same goes for you -- if you don't take the time to share with a new acquaintance what you can do do help them, you'll never know if that person could be an ideal client.
Changing the way you approach networking events and looking at them as a way to reconnect and strengthen current relationships with associates as well as a way to connect with new, potential clients. Connecting doesn't mean swapping business cards. Connecting with a potential business partner means setting up an appointment outside of the event to get to know one another over a cup of coffee. Remember, people like to do business with people they know, like and trust -- how can that happen in the rush of a networking event? It can't so after meeting follow ups are crucial.
What will you do the next time you attend a networking event to truly connect with a potential business partner?