You probably already know that the vast majority of jobs are landed not through ads and online search sites, but through networking and personal connections. The value of networking extends to more than just the job market.
Networking may be a great way to land a great job, but what if you are the one supplying those employment opportunities? As a business owner, you can also benefit from the power of networking. You can turn your next industry conference or networking event into a steady stream of new and profitable clients. This article discusses smart ways to wow potential clients at your next industry conference or networking event.
Practice Your Elevator Pitch
The “elevator pitch” is not just for Hollywood executives. Every business owner and entrepreneur should have a 30-second version of their offerings ready at all times.
When the opportunity arises, you can whip out your elevator pitch and wow those potential clients. So practice what you are going to say and rehearse your elevator pitch until it is perfect.
Have a Strong Call to Action
Every marketing major understands the importance of the call to action, and every effective advertising pitch should end with a strong CTA. However, your call to action can take a verbal form as well; think about how to close the conversation and ask for the sale.
In the lead up to your next industry conference or networking event, think about this call to action, practicing what you will say to those potential clients and how you will seal the deal. Once you have that call to action committed to memory, it will become second nature – and your secret weapon.
Stock Up on Business Cards
You can never have too many business cards, so stock up and keep a good supply on hand. “The simple business card is one of the cheapest and yet most effective tools in your marketing arsenal,” claims Neal Kwatra, CEO of Metropolitan Public Strategies. A networking event is not the time to run out of them.
Always make sure you have plenty of business cards in your pocket, your wallet or anyplace else that is easy to reach. If you are paying for a booth at an industry conference, display stacks of business cards prominently and encourage visitors to take one along. When you meet others at your networking events, make sure you end the conversation with your call to action – and hand over a business card.
You can never be too prepared for your networking events and conferences, so make sure you know who is attending ahead of time. Get a copy of the attendee list as soon as your registration is complete, and then make a list of the people you want to target.
Having a list of potential clients ahead of time will make your life easier. Once you arrive, you can seek out those must-meet individuals and land the clients you have targeted.
Dress to Impress
Even if the conference or networking event claims to be casual, always dress to impress. It may not be fair, but those you meet will judge you on your appearance, so make sure that the first impression is a good one.
Think about the standards for the industry you are targeting and the norms for your niche and dress accordingly. You want to blend in with everyone else, but you also want to stand out and distinguish yourself, so choose clothes that strike the right balance.
Eat Before You Leave
It is tempting to multitask at industry conferences and other networking events, but snacking should not be on your to-do list. Juggling your lunch while handing out business cards and meeting with potential clients makes you look unprofessional, and that is bad news for your business.
No matter how busy you are, take a few minutes and enjoy a meal before you arrive at your networking event. Eating ahead of time will help you focus on the task at hand.
Networking events are the perfect venues for landing new clients, but it is essential to be prepared. With the right planning and preparation, you can turn your next networking event into a rich source of new clients – one that can help you grow your business, boost your profits, and build your brand.
About Neal Kwatra
In his first year running Metropolitan Public Strategies (MPS), Neal Kwatra made history—leading Ken Thompson to victory as the first-ever African American to be elected Brooklyn District Attorney and the first challenger to defeat an incumbent D.A. in more than 100 years in Kings County.
Mr. Kwatra founded MPS in 2013 and has since been at the forefront of some of the most fiercely contested political and advocacy campaigns in New York and across the nation. Neal Kwatra has fought to uphold his ideals with great tenacity and continues to expand the reach of MPS into the strategic management of nationally recognized grassroots and issue advocacy campaigns.
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