This certainly won’t come as a surprise but bears repeating- networking is necessary for growing your business! Building a strong network creates a solid foundation for your company to expand and bring in more business, so if you haven’t been creating opportunities to meet new people, it’s time to reevaluate your schedule and make it a priority.
With that in mind, being strategic about your networking is the best way to ensure that you’re getting to know the right people and making the best impression possible. Here are some of my best practices for putting your best foot forward:
Choose events that fit your brand
There are many wedding and event industry associations that help bring professionals together, but they are each unique in their own ways. Do some research into the organizations around your area to see which best suits your brand and your values. If you find that the selection is limited in your market, consider starting your own group. Grab a few of your like-minded peers and start meeting regularly, then promote your meetings to other professionals in the area. Chances are they’ve been looking for the same opportunity as well!
Prepare as much as possible
Before attending a networking event, do your homework and find out who else is attending. Note anybody that you’d like to meet, so you can keep your focus while mingling. While you’re at it, research the venue and the sponsors of the event so you can get an idea of who is responsible (and who to thank at the end of the night!). Pick out an outfit that makes you feel confident and double check that your business cards are ready to go.
Don’t forget to smile
When you’re at the event, you want to come off as approachable so smile as often as possible. Don’t seclude yourself by the bar and wait for people to come to you, but at the same time, don’t lurk on conversations that are already midway through. Introduce yourself and practice your listening skills – ask questions to continue the conversation, but don’t hijack the conversation. When you make a solid connection, ask for their preferred method of communication and note it on their business card so you can follow up
Get involved further
While attending local events may be the first step to growing your network, consider getting involved to truly maximize your effort. Taking on a leadership role gives you exclusive insight into what’s happening in your market and it will also provide you with the opportunity to work and connect with key players that you may not have known. If you’re not ready to be in a leadership position, consider volunteering your products or services for an upcoming event – that way, you can get additional exposure for your work as well as get a taste of how increased involvement can impact your business.
The age-old adage is true – it’s not always what you know, it’s who you know. While it’s certainly important to have the skills and knowledge that make you an expert at your craft, it’s just as essential to know the right people who can help you in developing your business further.
This post was written by Kevin Dennis –
Want to learn more about networking? See Kevin speak live at WeddingWire World DC on August 14-15, 2017!