As introverted entrepreneurs, networking events may sound like a hassle. Even though introverts may think that it’s something to fray away from by all means necessary, It’s also crucial to their success as brand owners and entrepreneurs. I have many clients from networking events and numerous of leads that fell through. ( That’s another story, though). Here, I’ll show introverts how to make the most of going through networking events, almost effortless.
Update your LinkedIn
It caught me by surprise to use this as a valid point of something that should be done before you go to a networking event.
Yes, people are actually using LinkedIn as their business cards and apparently it worked quite well because I’m still in great contact with a few of the people that I met. I had a percentage of those to turn into paying clients!
At my last networking event with Network under 40 at “the office” in Atlanta, I actually came across quite a few people who didn’t have business cards but were quick to draw out the LinkedIn game! The conversation went something like:
Me: “Hey, I’m Greg. Im a brand strategist, consultant and Web developer. I help entrepreneurs start up, stand out, and succeed”
Them: “It’s nice to meet you, Greg. I’m _____ and I’m a ____. I think that I can use your services.”
Me: “Great! Here’s my card, call me or email me and let’s make it happen. Do you have a card of your services?”
Them: *No, but you can pull me up on LinkedIn real quick!”
me: “LinkedIn? 🤔🤔😐”
It took me by complete shock. I knew people used LinkedIn for business, but I didn’t know that I would be exchanging connection through it “at” a networking event.
Please be aware that if there’s someone that you really want to connect with, make sure that they can easily connect with you on any social site, especially LinkedIn, in case they aren’t as prepared as you are with your business cards.
Take a buddy
My first 2 networking events were slightly awkward. So awkward that I knew that I needed to have someone to help me. I knew the problem, and I addressed it before hand!
The issue was that I’ve never been to a real networking event and I had no idea what to do besides start a conversation and hope it works. Well, that wasn’t my strong point.
I took one of my clients who is very outspoken and a natural sociallite. This made it easier on me by atleast 100%. He started and engaged most of the conversation and I chimed in and engaged slightly all while letting him lead up to me passing out my cards and reeling in the contact! It was magically perfect!
The buddy system at networking events is one that I see often now that I consider myself a self proclaimed, natural networking guru even though I still bring an associate with me, it’s usually just for good company and a ride along partner to the farther networking events.
Circle The room
This one was pretty simple for me. A networking event is on a few hours at the most. Think about a 3 hour event, It’s not a lot of time once you get going. There’s absolutely no reason to spend 30 minutes on one person unless they are paying you for your services at that exact moment.
I know that as an introvert, it takes some time to get going, and you met someone interesting enough to hold your attention, but you’ve got to keep moving!
You don’t want to miss out on 2 guaranteed clients, because you’re comfortable talking to 1 potential lead for 30 minutes. Keep in mind that the objective of networking events is to network with multiple people!
Have a plan/ Be prepared
I know, having a plan seems to be common sense but many people don’t actually have a plan when it comes to networking. One thing that I’ve learned is that: If i planned to do a certain number of things or to do things a certain way, I’d always come out way better than I would when I was just “winging it”.
For example: I’ve always set goals the day before the event. Usually, My main goal is to meet at least 15 people before the night is out. I mean really meet these people, not just exchange contacts with them. I like to learn about their brands before pitching my brand. Doing so, I can tell if they will need my services before wasting both of our times. I can’t explain how many time I’ve met people with one sided businesses (MLM, Financial advisors, ETC!) No offense!
I also make a goal to circle the building at least 4 times. After that, I always plan to set up custom typed emails for each person that I came in contact with.
Every single person that I meet gets an email even if it only says: “it was nice to meet you yesterday, I hope to see you in the near future!”
So far, my plan has yet to fail me!
Here’s a few ways that I’ve learned to help me conquer and make networking events better as an entrepreneur. What are ways that you’ve found out that works as well?