There are many ways to grow a business… there’s only one way that puts you in a room full of decision makers at one time: networking events! Industry specific networking events, like the LBM Expo Business Connect, are the most powerful way to grow your circle of influence, your connections, and ultimately, your business or career. As a part of an event like this, you’re emerged in the energy of your profession and surrounded by the “top players” in the industry. Missing an industry specific networking event is practically handing your competition money!
We can no longer “pencil in” these types of events to our calendar, as they are a key strategy for growth in all areas of business and life. Professionally, they lead you to those who can connect you to opportunity, development, and partnerships; and personally, they open you to lasting relationships that you’ll lean on for generations. These events are where you meet the people who will mentor, guide, and support you. Allowing yourself the chance to take advantage of them, is the smartest move you’ll make all year.
There are a few specific tricks to ensuring a successful event:
- Go into these events with an open mind. Networking can be uncomfortable if you don’t do it often. Instead, go in with the goal to say hello to as many people as possible. The conversation will flow from there.
- Be willing to share your resources and connections. There’s enough business to go around so make sure you’re contributing as much as you’re consuming. As they say, “two-way streets make for easier traffic flow!” – and more traffic at an event, means more business!
- Do research ahead of time. Get a list of who will be there, check out their websites and company info on sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Learn a little about them before you engage in a conversation. The insight will go a long way with the person you’re talking with.
No matter what your reason for attending an event, the main objective is always the same: build relationships. In any industry, having strong relationships is key to a successful business or career. Who you know and who knows you can make or break your chances to start or expand in your industry. Even a simplest of introductions and a handshake can go a long way.
Now as great as these events can be, the real magic happens after! Here’s where the real work comes in. Most people will leave an event with a handful of business cards and a few thoughts on a person or two they interacted with, but the most successful networker knows the foundation of future relationships is laid through the follow up. Make sure to jot down any details you want to remember on the back of their card. From there, bring up your conversation through a “great to meet you” email the following business day. Don’t ask for anything specific, simply let the person know you enjoyed meeting them and the conversation left a lasting impression. Make sure to remind them what you do and that you’re available for future conversations. Ensure them that you’re interested in building on this connection.
Remember, strong connections don’t happen overnight, they take time. If you plan to grow in this industry, you must keep that in mind. Be sure to reach out to those you can be of service to and watch the opportunities start to pour in!