On today’s Southeast Texas Networking Tips, we share ten recommendations from Mark Taylor, Executive Director of BNI Houston East.
Mark visited Beaumont for a networking event at Howell Furniture and shared some tips he has picked up in his years of attending networking events in the Houston area and in Southeast Texas.
- No one attends networking events to buy. Leave your sales pamphlets and brochures in the car. Attend Southeast Texas networking events with the goal of growing a relationship not making a sale.
- Bring networking tools you can use. Instead of those sales materials, bring: your phone (to add any follow up appointments to your calendar, your name badge, business cards, and a pen).
- Act like a host. It may not be your event, but by coming early and pitching in you can raise your visibility with the event organizers and attendees. If you are a shy networker (like me) finding tasks also gives you something to do and relieves networking anxiety).
- Have a networking goal. Don’t just talk to the people you already know and like. Set a goal off the kind of people you’d like to meet. At today’s Southeast Texas networking event, I would like to meet (1) doctor’s office manager, (2) commercial insurance agents, and (1) marketing rep from a local credit union.
- Attend the next SETX networking event with a group. This is especially helpful if you find networking events. Attend with an outgoing friend or a group of friends with similar networking goals. You’ll also be more approachable than a single person who may be seen as “looking to sell”. In a group of 2 or 3, you’re just a friendly group other attendees will want to get to know. You can also partner up and keep each other moving and making introductions to potential future clients and referral partners.
- Position yourself. When you talk with an individual or group keep an open posture so others can join you. Do you see someone looking at your group? Wave them over to join you. Group conversations are often more comfortable than one on one conversations.
- When asked, describe your product or service in two sentences or less. This is one you can practice at home. To make a real connection, you’ll want to talk with the other person about THEM. For a networking meeting where you are meeting someone for the first time, a short memorable introduction to what you do is enough – you can tell them more over coffee or lunch when you get together for a follow up meeting. Your intro can be something like, We publish local print and online magazines that help our advertisers reach their exact demo – moms, senior citizens, brides, and The Commercial Real Estate sector. Sometimes I’ll make it even shorter, We help businesses target their advertising effectively. If they ask more, you can tell them more, but remember today’s networking event is not a sales meeting.
- Listen! Ask questions about them. This is an opportunity to talk about things other than business – their family, their hobbies, their Who knows? You might even develop a new friendship – sometimes that is even more valuable than a new client.
- Exchange business cards. Ask people for their business cards. If they then ask for yours, give them one. If you’re interested in following up with them, ask if you can call them to meet for a cup of coffee next week.
- Set a time limit with each new person you meet. Mark Taylor recommends 10 minutes with each person, but my observation five minutes is often plenty. Introduce yourself, ask them a few questions about themselves, exchange cards, and then introduce them to someone in the crowd that you have a good relationship with and that you think would be good for them to know. That gives you a great opportunity to transition to someone else you don’t know. I know Kevin’s company uses a lot of scaffolding companies for their work in the refineries. I have not heard him talk about using your company. I’d love to introduce you.
- Follow up after the event. Write notes on the back of a business card with a reminder to set an appointment, make a note in your cell phone calendar, or text yourself a prompt to follow up after the event.
I hope today’s Southeast Texas Networking Tips were helpful.
Feel free to share them with your staff.
Thank-you to Mark Taylor of BNI Houston East for sharing them with SETX Advertising.
You can grow your business through networking events in Southeast Texas.
SETX Advertising is here to help.
Any time you need help with growing your business in Southeast Texas, please do give us a call.
- Daryl Fant, SETX Advertising
- (512) 567-8068
You can also “like” SETX Advertising on Facebook to receive tips, information on upcoming SETX networking events, and inspiration.
We hope you enjoyed today’s edition of Southeast Texas Networking Tips.
Here are three great networking opportunities in Southeast Texas:
- Friday Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce Breakfasts. This is a great intro networking event – people are eating and drinking coffee, so they are very laid back and approachable. This is a very low pressure event if you are new to networking. Click here for more information on the Friday Beaumont chamber breakfasts – time, location, and what to expect. Not a member of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce? No problem. Attend as a guest. Like what you see? They’d love to welcome you as a new member when you are ready.
- BNI Southeast Texas Networkers. This is a referral group. They have about forty members each focused on opening their networking of contacts up to the other members via qualified referrals. The group meets every Tuesday at 11:15 at The Holiday Inn Beaumont Plaza. Click here for more information on The BNI Southeast Texas Networkers. Feel free to attend as my guest. Just let them know at the registration table that you’re a guest of Daryl Fant. I’ll be happy to personally introduce you to other members. Feel free to call me ahead of time and I’ll be prepared to introduce you to the exact type of businesses you’d like to meet.
- BBB Southeast Texas Mixers and Training Events. The BBB hosts a number of mixer events for their members. Is your company regional? The BBB’s events get out farther than the individual local chambers. They host events in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange, but they also get out to Cleveland, Winnie, and Jasper. Click here for information on a past BBB Mixer to get an idea of what to expect.
Stay tuned for more Southeast Texas Networking Tips right here on SETXAdvertising.com.
No one provides more Southeast Texas marketing tips, resources, and inspiration.