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PROFESSIONAL 'socialite' Helen; Net Gains.

Byline: Helen McGlynn

PROFESSIONAL 'socialite' Helen McGlynn shares the power of networking with fellow Teesside bosses in print and online every month.

SETTING realistic goals for your networking is essential.

Networking events are only a vehicle to allow you to meet people who may turn into valuable sources of referrals for your business. They are not sales conventions where your sole aim is to sell, sell, sell!

Before you attend an event it's a good idea to make a list of the types of people you'd be interested in meeting.

Broadly speaking, there will be four types of attendees at the event: potential clients, potential suppliers, potential referrers and those who can be of no use to your business at all.

Your aim for each event should be to talk to as many of the first three types as you can and spend as little time as possible with the last.

Have you ever noticed that as soon as you order or buy a new car, for a little while afterwards all you see when you're driving around is the same make and model of car you've just ordered? Suddenly they're everywhere.

To make the most of your networking events you need to tune your brain in the same way so that you see your opportunities more easily.

For example, if you are an estate agent you might decide that the most important people for you to meet are: * Landlords who buy and sell portfolios of properties -your potential direct clients. * Financial advisors who can refer you to their clients who are looking to invest in property - a potential referrer.

* Accountants who can refer you to their clients who are property developers - a potential referrer.

* A sign writer who can help you get a better deal on 'For Sale' boards - a potential supplier.

You now have a very structured list of contacts who would be great for your business - so all you have to do is strike up a conversation with them when you meet any at the event.

Remember the golden rule to avoid selling at the event and set yourself a much simpler goal.

"I'm really interested in finding out more about your business, could we meet up for coffee later this week?" works wonders as an opening chat-up line, and gives you permission to give them a call after the event to arrange a meeting.

If you haven't already got it, ask for their business card and make a short note on the back about when you're going to call them.

Using this simple strategy will start to fill your diary with potential clients and referrers and will have a dramatic effect on your success at networking events.

This month's networking diary: EVERY WEDNESDAY: AWC Insurance Business Referral Organisation networking meeting, O'Grady's Hotel, Redcar, 6.45am. Cost: Free. Contact: 01642 492776.

EVERY FRIDAY: BNI Endeavour networking meeting, The Sporting Lodge, Middlesbrough. Cost: pounds 10. Contact: rrushby@alpha-systems.co.uk, 6.45am-8.30am.

Friday, July 17: NEPIC summer BBQ, Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club, from 6.30pm. Details on 0191 516 4400.

Wednesday, July 22: Business For Breakfast Eaglescliffe. Parkmore Hotel, 7am- 8.30am. Cost: pounds 10. Contact: helen@bforb.co.uk Friday, July 24: Business For Breakfast Middlesbrough. Marton Hotel & Country Club. 7am8.30am. Cost: pounds 10. Contact: helen@bforb.co.uk Thursday, July 30: Middlesbrough Breakfast Exchange, Sassari, Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough. Cost: Free. Contact: www.middlesbroughbusinessforum.co.uk If you would like to publicise your networking event, log on to nebusiness.co.uk or email to business@eveninggazette.co.uk Helen McGlynn can be contacted at helen@bforb.co.uk

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TOP TIP FOR JULY: 'I'm really interested in finding out more about your business' is a great chat-up line
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2009
Words:625
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