Business Networking London
There are many different approaches you can take when creating a business networking plan for getting the most out of business networking in London. There are a few different ways to approach the situation and since there are many different types of people with different backgrounds and expertise, having one fixed approach won’t always work out in your favour.
Business networking shouldn’t just be an event; it should be an ongoing process of building relationships with people you actually like and with who you can form mutually beneficial business relationships with. Therefore, you need to consider how you can maintain these important relationships to build your own network of like-minded business people.
People go to London networking events to share ideas and solve problems, build strong relationships, develop partnerships, leads and referrals, become more influential in their industry and to increase their productivity. If you want to get the benefits out of networking, you will need to think about what goals you want to achieve for you and your business, this can be from creating more brand awareness to trying something completely new.
Set Your London Business Networking Goals
Once you have set your business goals, you can then begin by building your business by networking in London at events put on by Havering Chamber of Commerce. Good networkers are always looking for opportunities to meet and interact with people, so the more people you meet, the better your chances of finding the information you need or the leads you want. Even if the people you meet cannot directly help you, they may know someone who can.
Keeping your goals in mind, you will then need to decide how often you should be networking. How many times should you attend London business networking events in a week, a month or a quarter? You can then use these as guidelines for how much time you are willing to spend on networking.
A good way to start the relationship building process straight away is to approach people yourself. If you wait for people to speak to you, you might be waiting for a long time. If you see someone alone or someone who is not engaged in a conversation, go and say ‘hello’.
Before the event officially starts, you can take this time to start conversation with people. This way, you will already be familiar with someone there so once the event has begun, you can take a seat next to them.
If you are not by yourself and you have a colleague with you, you should split up and try to sit with people you don’t know. This can be a good technique to use if it is a big event and your main goal is to speak to as many people as you can.
In addition, you should aim to get the business cards of everyone you meet and give your business card to the people who ask for one.
You should have all your focus on the people at the event especially those you are in a conversation with. You should listen more than you speak, doing this will make sure you get the right information from them to see if you can help them or know someone who can help. While you are listening to what they have to say, you can also think of questions to ask to carry the conversation on. By asking them questions, you can direct the conversation to get the answers you need. From this point, you can then determine whether or not it would be worthwhile to continue speaking to them after the event.
You should always pay attention to whoever is talking to you and avoid looking around the room or checking your phone. Doing this may give people the impression that you aren’t interested in what they have to say. It may also come across as rude if your attention isn’t fully focused on them. You also run the risk of missing out on opportunities to ask more questions or get your chance to say something.
When To Pitch
It is always difficult to tell when to pitch, but the general rule is to avoid pitching at all during the first meeting. The initial introduction should have a more relationship-building approach. Once you have established common ground, know more about the person and their company and have an idea of what you can offer them, you can start to talk business.
It is also not a good idea to assume that everyone you speak to wants to engage in your company’s services or make a business deal with you. Just because you meet someone at the event, doesn’t mean you should expect them to give you a referral or use them as a resource for promotion and sales. Everyone has different reasons for networking, so you shouldn’t jump to conclusions straight away. It’s important to build the relationship first – meet, like, trust, know – is a good summary of how a business relationship develops and once you have gone through those four stages it is likely time to start talking business!
Building on the Relationship
After the event, you should have a few people you want to meet with to talk about similar interests. This is why it is a good idea to collect the business cards of everyone you interact with. It makes the follow-up process a lot easier. Once you have a clear idea of who you want to keep a relationship with, you should contact them immediately to arrange a meeting or even just to let them know that you spoke at the event and you would like to speak again. You should also include your contact information so they can get back to you.
It’s not a competition. You don’t necessarily want the largest network; instead you should aim to have the most diverse and responsive network. This way, you can connect with more people and give contacts to people outside of your network as well as within your network.