Throughout the ages networking has been one of the most effective ways to gain and maintain business. Doing so opens the doors to partnerships that can be incredibly profitable and indispensable for you in the long run. Although a fancy business card is a necessity for any networking event, you need to stand out amongst all the others. Efficiency is the key when it comes to networking, so here are some tips to make your networking memorable.
Stick It Out
At networking it’s super easy to leave with your free tote-bag filled with the dozens of business cards you probably picked up throughout the day. Business cards are an industry staple because they are super effective, but because everyone has one it can be difficult to make yours stand out. Instead of a business card, try handing out custom stickers! With online design you can create stickers of your business’s mascot or logo with your own contact info them. Stickers are a unique networking tool because you can adorn handouts with them as an example of a product or good you offer. Since you can create stickers in unique shapes, they’ll also physically stand out from a handful of business cards.
Know Your Stuff
It’s important to know your business and your skills inside and out at any networking event. This is because you’ll probably be asked a ton of questions – some of which you’ve never considered before. It’s up to you to be the expert liaison for those your networking with, so it’s important to prepare and know your stuff beforehand going in. however, every now and then a question will arise that you will absolutely have no idea what the answer is or how to answer it. When a situation like this arises it’s important not to improvise or makeup your answer. Doing so can make you appear unprofessional, and also increases risk of answering something incorrectly. If you don’t know the answer to something, let the person you’re talking to know that their question is interesting and is genuinely something you hadn’t thought of, and proceed to explain why it wouldn’t have, and suggest they contact (and relay the contact info of) a coworker who would.
Remaining active on social media has also become an industry standard. It’s an effective networking tool because it lets those you’re networking with how your businesses brands itself and the type of clientele you associate with. To make networking with social media more effective though get posting on a local scale. If your networking event is out of town for example, ask followers where they’re favourite restaurants or cafes are and put them on blast. This is a great method to increase brand awareness and also network with local businesses. Additionally, at the even itself you can talk to others about the great local finds you’ve discovered and begin establishing personal connections. These interactions could be lucrative for you in the long run.
Name badges are also nothing new, but they have the potential to positively affect your networking. When meeting a ton of people throughout the course of a networking event, it’s easy to forget or confuse people’s names. Wearing a name badge while speaking to someone is an effective strategy, as it makes the person you’re talking to constantly aware of your name. However, even that too can’t prevent your name slipping out of a potentially important client’s head. Try creating custom polystyrene name badges in the exact shape of your logo and mascot. The unique shape and vivid colours will help your name badge (and name) stand out more. If you’re name badge is the same shape as your logo and is branded similarly to your business card, it’ll help you be more memorable when the networking event is over.
A little goes a long way, and that’s still the case when it comes to manners. Saying a simple thank you at the end of a conversation is a smart way to ensure you’ve established a genuine connection with the person you’re networking with. However it’s important you’re not just offering a quick “thanks” and rushing off. Thank the person you’re talking to for teaching you something new, giving you a fun freebie, or even for taking the time to talk to you. Thanking the person you’re networking with let’s them know you were actively listening to what they told you, and your chances of standing out in their mind increases because of your pleasant interaction. Networking is about creating professional relationships, and it’s important to remember those relationships have to start with a genuine connection.