There’s a thick layer of dust building up on top the stack of various business cards you collected during the last networking session you went to and yet the time has come again for you to attend your next one. Whether you’re running the show as the business owner or if your boss has made it clear that it’s mandatory for you to attend, going to a networking session can start to feel like a boring chore where you just go through the motions.
Does everybody attending feel this way however and since you probably gave out your own business card during the last networking event, should anybody who was interested in what you have to offer not have gotten in touch with you by now? If you are indeed the authority in your business or company and you attend networking sessions with a “You never know if the next acquaintance is a client” attitude, you need to find a way to get value out of the time you spend attending these sessions. If you’re an employee, pulling in a new major client or two, who insists on working with nobody else but you, that’s some good grounds for a salary increase or a commission / performance-based adjustment to your existing salary package. So in your next networking event, just try to get some value out of what can be a very painful process. Worse yet – you bump into someone with whom you previously exchanged business cards and there’s an awkwardness between the two of you because someone who said they’d get in touch didn’t follow-through.
Leave a Lasting Impression
Look, everybody is probably going the direct route – telling each other about what they do and I suppose indirectly putting it out there as to what they have to offer. This means that you have to do something different – go a bit further than that – if you want to make a lasting impression. The best way to leave a lasting impression, that will have your new acquaintance calling you a long way away from now with some business, is to give them something of value. It doesn’t have to be directly related to their core business or in fact your own core business. Just for an example; if during your brief business liaison the other party hands you their business card and tells you just how much they’re struggling to get their name officially changed, if you email them a complete step by step guide with the subject line How to Change Your Name, that is some value you created for them without spending anything on your side. Your contact will immediately feel as if they owe you a favour if what you have to share with them is of the kind of value which saves them time and money.
It really doesn’t have to be directly related to either of your daily business dealings. Offer some solutions to the challenges your prospects fill you in on and every networking session you walk away from will be much more profitable. The profits may not come immediately, but the current and future value of your network will increase vastly.