Business networking for Information Technology is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting method you can use to grow your business. But if done incorrectly, it can be harmful to your business.
Business networking is a lot more than giving out business cards. It is about building trust. For Information Technology the networking is a lot more than meeting people. It is about connecting with the right people.
Business networking is a lot more than collecting phone numbers. It is about staying in touch, about listening, addressing needs and looking for opportunities all at the same time.
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It is how as a Information Technology we approach relevant business networking sessions that makes it work for us. Networking is about being authentic and genuine, building relationships and trust, and helping others. Although increased sales is the end goal, don’t participate in business networking to sell.
Build relationships and sales will follow naturally. People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. Relationship capital is an immensely valuable part of business success. Put your energy, intention and attention on business networking.
Let's talk about inviting people to your business events in this article. The tips that I am going to share later applies to not only business related events but also normal events as well.
If you have tried inviting people to come for your business events be it networking or talks, you will agree with me that it is not easy to get the numbers especially if you are inviting business man and women because they prioritize almost all events according to ROI (Return On Investment) - if your event does not justify their time to be there, then most probably you will have a poor turnout.
Based on my experiences and observations from the other very experienced networkers in my business circle, I realize that there are only three things that you need to do it probably in order to have a high turn-up rate for your events.
1. Is this what they need?
I do not invite every person I meet to my business events such as BNI. If the first thing you meet someone new is to ask him / her to come to your event, then this is something that you may want to stop and re-think on.
Listening is by far the most important skill we need to learn and refine (not only for business). Thus, the first thing before we even start inviting is to ask relevant questions. For example, if you are holding an event for Internet Entrepreneurs to come together and network, you need to ask and assess if the person you are talking to has this area of interest.
A good question you can start off is, 'Have you been to other business networking events?'. This question not only help you understand them better but also make them reveal if they think they needed such exposure. You will be surprised that some business owners will answer this question admitting that they should go around networking more often! Now, do you think if you invite them to your event at this point of time, the person will be far more receptive and appreciate your invitation?
2. Persistent - the additional effort that makes the difference
A lot of invitations I receive nowadays rarely exceeds more than 3 times. If you are holding an event that happens regularly (for example, monthly), you must be persistent and keep inviting no less than 7 times. Most of the times, people are kind enough to tell you that they have other commitments and couldn't attend your event. If this is the case, invite them again when your next event is coming up. This kind of followup is the key that makes the difference.
I remembered I was inviting a business associate of mine who has rejected me no less than 5 to 10 times (I lost count...) because of his usual morning commitments. One day he finally make it to my BNI (Business Network International) event and thank me for inviting him to attend such an eye-opening event. I think sometimes we just have to be persistent especially if you see that your event adds value to the others.
3. Reminders - the secret to 100% turnouts
I never know that a simple reminder can make such a big difference until I came across a material by Dr. Ivan Misner who mentions that reminders are important and we should remind the people who have agreed to come for our events one or two days before the event.
It can be frustrating sometimes if you see that the person you have invited did not turn up in the end just because they forgot. Hence, a simple reminder either through phone or SMS can be very helpful. At the time of posting, there are already systems in place to send out automated reminders to people who have registered for events. One company that can help you to leverage this technology is FlexiSoft - managed by Norman Chin from BNI Singapore, Raffles Chapter.
Identify which networking events you should attend. Pick groups that’ll help you achieve your goals. Find venues that make sense for your business. When you register for an event, schedule it like a meeting.
Determine how often you should be networking. How many times in a week, month, or quarter? Visit as many groups as possible.
Attend events with a plan and always try to learn something new. Prepare yourself for the event. Develop open-ended questions to ignite a conversation. Bring business cards but don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Give cards to those who ask you for it. Try to sit with strangers. Don’t forget to mingle.
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Keep track of people you meet. Keep in touch with them and deepen your emotional connection. Establish a mutual beneficial relationship with other business people and potential clients/ customers. Meet with the group members individually so you get to know them better and try to build quality connections. Consider other group members as resources. focus on the group; listen and think about how you can help them. Focus on giving. Build trust within the group.
Recent days, manage conference is a necessity and is very helpful to business. Lessons of conference management program allow you to set the perfect business conference. As everyone knows, the business sector in today's world is full of tough competition and work pressure and it is necessary in dealing with all these to emerge successful amongst others. In the business world, conferences are of much important. There is a need to plan and organize this conference with the most appropriate way so that certain organizations will get many benefits. A special meeting can sometimes turn highly beneficial for a particular firm in terms of crucial decisions. In facing that phenomenon, one should be quite aware and should be able to work on the tips of planning conferences and events. Thus, learn the art of management of this conference is very important to keep the meeting on track. Going off the track will result loss of much time and money without productive conclusion.
We all know that the daily meetings are a part of most companies, such as telephone conferences, staff meetings, board meetings, meetings to network formation. Many people and companies are struggling to arrange a few meetings in places with high costs in order to get their projects approve. As a result, more and more people will try to pursue a career in conference management. They need the right knowledge and for some reason such professional programs have been initiated. These courses cover various aspects of management include: planning a conference in accordance with the requirements, obtain proposals, determine the budget, the following financial year, and choose places and boarding and lodging of guests. These are the areas that are being covered in this program. Therefore, conference and event planning is an important prerequisite to success.
Conference management has created several job opportunities for people, and if you're a job seeker, you should join such a course and improve your skills in the field that are required. It is certain that if you have the right skills you can excel in your career. Short-term programs with effective management conference will be helpful for all. You can find meeting planners along with other people who work in the field during the course.
Some programs will only take about six hours or a day. It also has its convenient timing. This course is very useful for those who want to improve their skills and work effectively. If you search on the Internet, you would be able to come across many of such courses offered in different places to find. The courses are available on campus and online. If you choose the latter, you can just sit in your home and learn from these courses. Do not worry! This online program has all the knowledge that a student needs. In general, the time of the course is short, you can take this course and get to your favorite topics quickly. Certificates are provided to students that those help them to get better jobs. Some conference management courses are also available at an affordable price, while some others can be expensive. Search online for the program and after a careful comparison choose the best program that you need.
Do not expect to receive benefits right away. Do volunteering work for network groups to stay visible and give back. As a responsible Information Technology you must show up regularly and on time, show others how you deal with business meetings and associates. Give quality referrals and leads. If someone gives you a referral, follow up on it in a timely manner. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. Take a referral seriously.
Don’t spam on social networks. Use the platforms designed for Information Technology to build relationships and expand your network.
Limit self-promotion. Don’t sell. Build relationships. Be as helpful as you can. Share relevant information with others as people love to learn new things. Participate in discussions. Let others know you’re real. Be approachable. Treat your online connections just as valuable as your offline connections.