Looking for referrals? The Alpharetta Business Association offers networking breakfasts, after-hours meetings, and other gatherings to help our members connect and find ways to do business with each other. After attending events, do you take advantage of the networking opportunities from the connections you made? Here are five ways to maximize your networking and referrals.
Listen and Ask Questions -- When you meet someone at a networking event, take the time to really listen to what they say. Ask questions to learn more about them, what their business offers, and who their target customers are. Knowing this type of information will help you remember details about the conversation later. People like to be heard and will remember that you took the time to listen, which in turn keeps you – and your business – in their mind.
Be Prepared to Share --In conversations with new acquaintances, be prepared to share a few sentences about yourself and your business. Your ‘elevator pitch’ can help fuel a productive conversation and possibly lead to an opportunity for you to make a referral to someone or for them to do so for you.
Look for Ways to Help -- Look for ways to assist people after you meet them at a networking event. That’s what happened with ABA members Joel Peskin of Joel’s Carpet Service and Lara Dolan, a realtor from The Craft Dolan Team at Ansley Atlanta Real Estate. After meeting Lara at an ABA event, Joel remembered Lara and their conversation and referred her to one of his clients who was looking for a realtor.
Follow-up Promptly --Reach out with people you meet to maximize the impact of new connections. Send an email or thank you note, make a phone call, or connect on LinkedIn with your new contact within a week of your initial meeting. Prompt follow-ups show people that you valued the time spent with them and helps them remember you and your business.
Nurture Your Network -- While you build new relationships, be sure to maintain your existing ones. Healthy relationships – new and old – require time and care. Nurture your relationships by reaching out periodically to offer assistance with a business issue, just to check in, or to catch up over a cup of coffee or a lunch. Or, better yet, make a plan to meet at the next ABA event!