I say, hope, because Face-to-Face networking events can be pretty random. At best you see a delegate list after you’ve signed up, but sometimes you don’t even have that: it’s a bit like business roulette. The big question is will the gamble of spending your time spinning round a room like that pay off?
Sure, you might get lucky and meet someone who’s looking for exactly what you offer, but you might also find that there are a lot of people in that room as eager to sell their services to you. After all they’ve invested their time and money into this game of roulette, so is anyone there really interested in buying?
Because of the random nature of these events you might not have time to prepare much in advance – to do the research on those attending, and sometimes, disappointingly, the people you really wanted to see don’t sign up, or cancel at the last minute. If only you could meet up with that one prospective client that you’ve identified as so important.
By taking a more structured approach, you can. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it’s not easy – this is what Seth Godin might call the Hard Work. There’s more research and preparation involved in taking this path, but the rewards are bigger. It’s nothing new, but it’s something that many businesses seem to ignore and that is targeted networking. Here are some tips to target your networking:
- Develop a strategy so that you know your market.
- Research them so that you understand their needs.
- Analyse what they do, and how you can add value.
- Make contact with them – telephone, email, letter, LinkedIn, Twitter etc
- Outline your analysis, and ask to meet up to discuss further.
What is your particular strategy?