Networking Etiquette – 10 tips to improve your business networking

Catching up with fellow networking colleagues is an essential element to relationship building and maintaining trust within your business circles.

Whilst attending an event recently, our conversation turned to how important it is to make time to get to know people at general business networking events; one of the most effective ways to gain new clients and build trust.

The key to success is knowing how to achieve optimum results without being too aggressive and understanding the golden rules of etiquette when attending any networking event:

1. Be prepared. Arrive on time having previewed the guest list and identified two or three people you would like to meet during the event.
2. Introduce yourself. Be brave and always extend your hand and clearly introduce yourself with your first and last name and the name of your business – don’t rely on your name badge; people rarely remember written details but will be more likely to remember a confident handshake and a happy face!
3. Rehearse your intro. Briefly describe what you do, avoid long descriptions with an obvious sales pitch, instead make the tone friendly and informative.
4. Enter group conversations sensitively. Don’t barge in and take over! Approach and stand quietly for a moment or two, wait for a break in the conversation or for someone to make eye contact with you.
5. Make meaningful business card exchanges. Only exchange cards when it will be of benefit to both of you, either if they ask for one or you offer assistance with something they say they want or need.
6. Politely exit conversations. Avoid monopolizing people’s time and from being monopolized by someone else. After a reasonable time the key is to move away from the conversation by excusing yourself politely; this sometimes happens naturally when others join your group or simply say ‘Do excuse me, I’ve enjoyed speaking to you.’
7. Always introduce yourself to fellow table guests. Before taking your seat, make a point of introducing yourself to each of your fellow table guests before taking your seat.
8. Follow-up with new acquaintances. This is the most important element to successful networking; showing you are interested in the people you meet. A personal note to every person you’ve met within 24-48 hours, including calling anyone who has helped give you leads and referrals.
9. Gain permission before sharing contact details. Check they are OK for you to share their details with someone you think they might be able to help. Providing an endorsement or introducing them as an expert in their field to someone looking for their help is key in demonstrating you are someone they can trust.
10. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. Time is always a challenge, and it’s too easy to give up when it doesn’t look like you’re getting anywhere with people you have built up a relationship with or feel a potential with. Continue to exchange knowledge which will add value and help to forge a strong mutual connection, but know when it’s time to step away if you can’t add value straight away.

Here’s a list of some current networking organisations in Brighton & Sussex>>>

 

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with your own marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to arrange an initial chat over a coffee!

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How do you make sure your emails get opened?

How can I make sure my emails don't end up in the trash can?I constantly get asked about email open rates and why, even though recipients have signed up for information, they didn’t seem to be actually opening messages, let alone responding or engaging.

According to recent research, an average email account receives about 120 emails a day and this figure is set to increase to 140 by 2018, so it’s inevitable that a lot of those messages are instantly trashed, without even a second glance. So it’s a dilemma lots of businesses face if their emails are constantly being unread and ignored; how do you make sure your emails don’t end up in the trash can?

Simple answer: make sure your emails are relevant to each recipient – this way they are more likely to open and digest the information – they might not respond immediately, but at least the seed is sown.

Taking the following simple steps will ensure a better chance of getting responses and eventually results.

Clean up your data (regularly)

Your database is the most valuable part of any marketing. Make sure your information is up to date and you have a clear idea of who are existing customers and prospects.

Keep a record of the products/services they are interested in and which emails they have responded to in the past; assuming your opt-ins have an interest in what you’re ‘selling’, or at least have some affinity with the industry you operate in, this should be easy to evaluate.

Divide and conquer

Once you start consistently evaluating your data, you can send your recipients relevant information by segmenting your database into different categories.

For instance, if you’re a wine retailer and have a section of customers who only ever buy white wines, it would be obvious to target them with information about white wine. This way you would be communicating with them personally, providing them with relevant messages.

Don’t be tempted to send the same email to each list in the hope that those who only drink red will start loving white because they couldn’t possibly live without this amazing offer!

And if they’ve just bought a case of Australian Chardonnay, don’t send them an email containing the same offer the following week; the last thing they want is an endless stream of useless emails, which will inevitably lead to them opting out altogether.

To put it into context, think about the last time you went into Boots and bought some shampoo. Did you notice the next set of loyalty vouchers you received were for money off the same brand of shampoo, valid for 6 or so weeks? Where are you likely to buy your shampoo when you next run out?

This is smart targeted marketing!

So, spend your energy dissecting and evaluating your data on a regular basis, especially after you’ve sent out an email campaign. This will allow you to devise a series of future emails with relevant targeted messages which will help to increase your open rates and give you a better chance of converting a sale.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help and advice on your emailmarketing, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.