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A Guest Post by Cassidy Hennigan
One of the best skills you can have that can directly benefit your career is the ability to network well. Being able to make connections among industry leaders and a helpful way to make the most of your time and effort. Plus, once you get the hang of network, you won’t dread marketing events nearly as much. To help you get started, follow our tips for etiquette when you want to target potential clients.
1. Set Realistic Goals
You don’t need to be a specialist to know that it is best to craft goals before entering any sort of professional situation. Before a marketing event, make sure you have goals set in place that you plan on accomplishing before the event is over. Make it crucial that you meet at least three clients at a minimum.
Remember, a simple handshake is one of the easiest ways to get in the door. However, as important as it is to set goals, make sure that you set realistic ones. For example, it’s not realistic to try and get every client under your belt at a marketing event. If you’re new to social events, just try making it a goal going to the event, after all, it can be an incredibly stressful environment for new marketers.
2. Prepare Conversation Points Ahead of Time
Small talk is important to grow relationships with clients. Knowing this, you should prepare conversation points ahead of time. This is an especially important step if you are naturally shy or just dislike networking.
Keep in mind that you should steer clear from certain gray areas, such as religion, divorce, money, politics, and gossip. The last thing you want to do is upset the client you’re trying to get on your side.
3. Introduce Yourself by Your First and Last Name
When you shake a client’s hand and introduce yourself, make sure you clearly say both your first and last name. Only saying your first name makes it seem like you’re not speaking as a professional.
On another note, if you forget someone’s last name, don’t freak out, just say you’re drawing a blank and ask them to repeat it. It’s better to be honest than awkward, which may come off as unprofessional.
4. Clients are Always First When it Comes to Introductions
Whenever you make an introduction, always say the client’s name first. It’s important that the company member says the client’s name before their own, even if it’s the CEO that’s doing the introduction. This shows the potential clients how much you respect and value them.
5. Always Stand During Introductions
Whenever introductions are being made, it shows professionalism to stand up. But, besides respect, it also shows that you’re interested in what they’re saying. If the person next to you isn’t standing up, don’t copy them, it’s not a contest to see who stands up first. Even in a casual environment, it’s important that you show mutual respect by standing up for an introduction. Not only is it simply polite to stand up when someone is being introduced but it can also make you stand out when attempting to target potential clients.
6. Place Your Name Tag on the Right
When you’re given a name tag, you should always put it on the right side. Putting it left or center makes it harder for other people to glance at it, which means fewer people will read and remember your name. Also, everyone putting it on the right side reduces distractions by having everyone having their name tag in a different place.
7. Don’t Give Everyone Your Business Card
You shouldn’t be handing out business cards like it’s candy on Halloween. Instead, you should use it as reinforcement for a good impression on a client. They should be used sparingly, after all, they weren’t free. Plus, it seems like an amateur move to try and give everyone a business card at a marketing event.
8. Don’t Overdo it on the Buffet
Remember the rule of thumb, you’re not there to eat. Always make sure you eat beforehand, so you’re not tempted to overindulge on the buffet. But, if you’re hungry, make sure you have your drink of food in your left hand, with your right hand open for handshakes. No one wants to be turned down for a plate of food.
9. Keep a Positive Attitude
When going to a networking event, make sure you bring your confidence and positive attitude with you. No enjoys a mopy marketer that acts like they don’t even want to be there. Also, do a mirror and breath check before you arrive, this will help boost your confidence and help you look more professional. After all, clients don’t tend to hang around marketers with smelly breath or disheveled clothes.
10. Follow Up
This is perhaps the most important part of the networking process. After having your initial conversation, you need to follow up with your new contacts. Send a handwritten note or email expressing how much you enjoyed meeting them. You should also suggest scheduling a follow-up meeting where you can discuss doing business together in the future. As mentioned above, you can send either a note or an email. Though an email is easier, a handwritten note can make a bigger impression and show that you truly care about the other person.
With these tips, you can practice the proper etiquette when trying to target potential clients at a social or networking event. Make sure you keep it professional and considerate when talking to new people and always remember to follow up afterward. When you follow the tips above, you can make sure that your networking is a success.
Cassidy Hennigan is an avid writer and a passionate career development coach. Former HR, she learned how important it is that individuals to have a mentor who helps them take the correct decision when it comes to their careers. When she’s not giving motivational pieces of advice, she contributes to SalariesWiki – a website dedicated to statistics about salaries.