Marketing ideas for the shoestring bourgeoisie.

Marketing Ideas #32-37: Navigating Networking Events

Marketing Ideas Who to Look for at Networking Events

You’ve arrived at the latest networking event. You have your name tag. You have your drink. You’re looking sharp. Now what?

If you arrived at the event with someone else, you shouldn’t be standing around talking to that person all night. You’re there to make new connections.

#32: Don’t be afraid to smile, extend your hand, and introduce yourself. This is why you’re here: to meet people.

Trick: If you don’t know anyone, stand in the food or bar line. This way, you’ll always have at least two people to talk to: the one in front of you and the one behind you.

#33: Don’t interrupt a conversation. Not only will this create a poor first impression, but everything you say after that will be received at a deficit. Instead, stand close, and when a pause presents itself, ease into the conversation gracefully.

#34: You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately. It’s about them, not you. Ask about them and show a sincere interest. “They don’t care what you have to say, until they know that you care.” —Zig Ziglar

#35: Ask smart questions. Listen and learn. Prepare several qualifying questions before going to a networking event. If you find a prospect, qualify him before arranging a follow-up.

#36: When it’s your turn to talk, be brief but succinct and powerful. You must be able to present your case in sixty seconds or less. This may include who you are, what you do, what benefits you offer customers, and why you are better than the competition.

#37: Be enthusiastic and positive. People don’t want to hear you complain about your day, your boss, or your lot in life. (Save that for your spouse, therapist, or best friend.) People enjoy working with positive people.

Remember: Your goal at a networking event is to meet as many people as possible, qualify them, and arrange appropriate follow-up. Sell yourself first, and then your products and services.

Marketing Ideas #26-29: Name Tags

Marketing Ideas Nametags

Here are some tips for dealing with name tags:

Marketing Idea #26: Go above and beyond the paper name tags you have to wear at many events. Be prepared with your own professional name tag, complete with company logo. They’re inexpensive and stand out in a crowd. Have two or three made, and keep one in your car at all times.

Marketing Idea #27: Name tags with magnet backs instead of pins are easier on your suits. Most promotional products companies can have them made for you.

Marketing Idea #28: You really only need your first name (printed in big letters) on a name tag. Upon meeting you for the first time, people only need to concern themselves with your first name. If they’re interested in meeting with you after your initial introduction, they’ll find your last name on your business card.

Marketing Idea #29: Name Tag Feng Shui: Place your name tag on your right side instead of your left. When you shake someone’s hand, your name will be closer to his eyes.

Marketing Ideas #30: Join a Networking Group

Marketing Ideas Join a Networking Group

Join a networking and referral group like Local Business Network (LBN) or Business Networking International (BNI). This may also take the form of joining a local business association, rotary, or other similar group. Joining these groups offers you an opportunity to meet and network with other small-business owners in the spirit of bringing opportunity to one another. By getting to know your fellow entrepreneurs, you broaden your personal network—and therefore the value you bring to your prospects and clients through your ability to refer problem-solvers to them—while maintaining a finger on the pulse of the local market.

Tip: These groups can be wonderful sources of referrals, as well as training in the world of business-to-business relationship building.

Tip: Websites like Meetup.com and LinkedIn.com can also be a great source for meeting and networking with local entrepreneurs.