We’ve all been to a number of networking events in our given industry, but how well do you make use of your time while there? Building up awareness takes a diligent effort and a good approach: It is, after all, up to you to communicate your brand to the other professionals who attend. If you find you are reluctant to talk about yourself and your organization with the people who can help your business grow — or are simply not sure what approaches work best when meeting people cold — then you are losing out on a key opportunity to help your company grow.
Networking is an essential part of business. You never know who you are going to meet or how you could help each other in the future. So what are the best ways to network at an event — and beyond? Below, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share their best networking tips for fellow entrepreneurs looking to build awareness or win over potential partners, investors and customers. Here’s what they recommend:
1. Be Authentic
Be authentic in everything that you do and serve a higher purpose. When pitching customers or investors on a product or service, there has to be: one, inherent value for them, and two, a desire to deliver something that goes beyond the pure pursuit of profit. Integrity and authenticity always shine through. – Alexander Bird, Kiss My Keto
2. Be Bold, Competent And Focused
Be bold. Don’t be afraid of being original. Be competent and ready to answer any questions better than anyone else, with the constant humility of listening to others. Be focused, yet ready to work together when the time arises. Be sure to bring value and quality over quantity. Own it! – Simonetta Lein, Ausonia Partners LLC
3. Be Present And Intentional
Be present in all that you do. If you show up to a meeting with two people or even 10 people, be present and active in the meeting. Acting and showing up with intention will be the best way to be not only memorable, but also demonstrate that you are someone who is great to work with. – Arry Yu, StormX, Inc.
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4. Focus On Client Satisfaction
Our company grew in its first year, with zero spend on marketing, to almost $1 million in annualized revenue. We were 100% committed to client satisfaction and prioritized it over fancy marketing campaigns. This led to free word-of-mouth and the growth of our client base. The other tip is to always “show” rather than “tell.” We always offered a free pilot first and convinced our clients through quality. – Sascha Eder, NewtonX, Inc.
5. Do What You Love
Be yourself and do what you love. Money finds you. People will be drawn to your energy and passion. And an 80-hour work week will feel like fun. – Shiv Madan, Block Party Tickets, Inc
6. Network For Industry Insight
Networking is not something you do because you think it will help you land a client or reach the corner office; it’s rather one of the easiest ways to further your personal awareness of competitors, your industry and future opportunity. Think of it as an intimate way to get to know everything you can about the people who very likely will play a key role in your future success or failure. – Ryan Bongard, Twelve21 L.L.C.
7. Develop Conciseness
Make sure you are able to articulate what you do and who you serve in two sentences or less. The more concise, the better. – Ally Lozano, Ally Lozano LLC
8. Build A Community Around Your Brand
Creating a scholarship supporting students who shared the values and interests of our partners and customers was a great way to build a community around our brand and to start a conversation in which all of our interests were aligned. – Charlie Maynard, Going Merry
Read more in How To Grow An Industry Network From Scratch
9. Find An Underserved Niche
Have a product that is unique that solves a problem your peers can’t solve. Find a niche in your market that very few people, if any, serve. – Brittany Watkins, Brittany Watkins
10. Be Yourself
Honesty is key. Be yourself. Social media is perception and has too many people pretending to be something they are not. Once someone smells bullshit, you’ve lost them forever. Honesty can help you build trust and it will last a lifetime and expand opportunity. – Frank Mengert, ebenefit Marketplace, LLC