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What People Want To Know About You When Networking

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Networking events provide a great opportunity to chat with other business people that you don’t get to see that often, but it’s important to remember that time is limited and we shouldn’t take up too much of any one person’s time.

With that in mind, what are some things to focus on? What are the things that people really want to know from you at each event?

What’s new

Any new projects, partnerships, or ventures? As a business connection, people don’t want to hear your latest sales pitch, but they do want to know what you are doing and where you are focusing your energy, so they can recommend potential clients your way when they come up. Don’t overwhelm them with information, just give them the highlights of what you’ve been up to since you last saw them.

Who to meet

Is there anyone new to the business scene that they should meet? Perhaps you just met someone who has an awesome new startup, or you met someone new to town at a previous event that your connection should meet. People appreciate you helping them to expand their network with quality business people. These light referrals give you bonus points in both person’s eyes. If it ends up being a lucrative connection, they may be especially thankful and remember you even more in the future.

What’s coming up

Make sure to mention to your connection what events are coming up that you are attending. People always appreciate learning about a new event, and spreading the word will help the event to gather the greatest entrepreneurs in Ottawa. Be sure to mention where they can get tickets, if necessary, and tell them where you heard of it. Lots of times new events spring up and it takes word of mouth to get them up and running.

Where’s the food

If all else fails and you can’t think of what to talk about, mention the food! Point out where the drinks are, or where the food is (this works especially well if there are roaming servers with trays). It may be a small talk, but it’s better than nothing. Not all conversations have to be deep to be meaningful! You can parlay talk about the event’s food into talk about restaurants in town, new recipes, cooking shows, and more. Be creative!

The continued connections that you make with people are what really counts. Keep your relationships going by purchasing your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

What Networking Can Do For You

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (2)You’ve heard time and again that networking is about relationships and not sales, but perhaps you are wondering: “what will networking really do for me?”

Gain experience

When it IS time to sell, whether at a client meeting, trade show, or wherever else, you’ll want to be ready to interact with people and feed off of them to tailor your pitch to meet their needs. Networking gives you a chance to gain experience in talking about your product and gauging people’s reactions. Do their eyes glaze over when you talk about the technical aspects, but they seem really interested in hearing about success stories? Networking helps you become an experienced sales person, without the pressure of sales!

Gain confidence

In addition to wanting to know how to talk to people and expect what they will want to hear from you, you’ll also want to make sure you have the confidence to sell your product. It’s more than memorizing your elevator pitch and reciting it in front of a mirror. To really sell your products and services, you have to have the confidence to discuss them backwards and forwards. Networking gives you the chance to do this, and the more you network the easier it will be to talk about your business.

Gain referrals & opportunities

Yes, referrals really happen. They might not flood in the day after an event, but over time you may find lucrative deals roll in from people you have gotten to know. In addition, perhaps you will find the chance for joint ventures, partnerships, or new business ideas that you may have never considered had you not gotten out and networked.

Market research

Developing a business on your own, with no outside input, is a terrible idea. We are incapable of being impartial or objective. That’s why networking is a great opportunity to find out what others think. Networking events, such as eSAX, provide you with the chance to talk to HUNDREDS of people and find out what their reaction to your business idea is. Ask them about their pain points, and see if your product or service can solve for it. 

 

Get expert advice

Networking events have a mix of entrepreneurs with varying degrees of experience over many different fields. While you may find a lot of people who are new to business and networking, you’ll want to seek out those who are there to give advice. At eSAX, attendees include professional business coaches, or staff from the Ottawa Public Library and Invest Ottawa, who help businesses start and grow. Through networking you are able to meet with influencers who would otherwise be very difficult to meet. While the Mayor won’t have time to mix and mingle with everyone, you will find that company CEOs and sucessful startup founders will spend more time with you. It is the gift of networking that once you start doing it you get to learn a lot of things that would not had been possible otherwise.

 

Networking does a lot for you and your business if you do it passionately and honestly. Don’t miss out! Make sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

 

The Principles of Networking

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Networking doesn’t come naturally to everyone right away. People get better and better at networking with practice, and with learning all they can to become better networkers. If you ask people for tips on networking, they may all give you different answers. Different things work for different people, but there are some underlying principles that will work for pretty much everyone.

#1: Don’t sell

Networking is about getting to know people, not about making sales. Don’t feel as though the night was not successful if you did not make a deal, and don’t write people off if you don’t think they are going to buy from you. Relationships on their own are valuable, getting to be known in the Ottawa business community is valuable, and you never know who may end up knowing someone who DOES want to buy from you!

#2: Listen

There is no better way to exhaust yourself than to run from person to person at an event, blasting out your elevator pitch at full steam. It’s also a good way to annoy others. Practice listening, not just nodding while you plan what you are going to say next. Process what people are saying, and make an attempt to remember it for the next time you see them. 

#3: Value people

As networking isn’t about sales, you should have some real interest in people, and not just what they can do for you. Each person you meet has a unique story: where they came from, how they got started, and what makes them a success. You can value them for the advice they may give, or for the valuable market research potential they provide (when you ask them about their pain points and if they feel your product or service would be beneficial to them).

#4: Be prepared to give

If you don’t ask, you may never receive, but what’s more important is for you to be ready to help others. If someone asks you for something, or even if you sense that people may take you up on an offer, you could end up being a hero for lending a helping hand. This doesn’t mean you have to give out free products or services, but it may mean that you lead them to a good new connection, or give them a tip or advice that they need. Gradually you will find that you are reciprocated with the statement: “Now how can I help you?”

#5: Be approachable

We talk about facial expressions and body language all the time. It is important to smile and be relaxed so that people feel comfortable walking up to you and saying hello. Being approachable is also about the conversations you have with others. If people see that you are easy to talk to, they will be more likely to introduce themselves.

#6: Think outside the event

Think networking only happens four times a year, at each eSAX event? It’s a nice thought, but networking can happen anytime, anywhere. You may see someone in the grocery store that you met at an event, and you’ll have to remember that relationship-building is a continuous process. Always be “on-brand”, which means that you always want to be a good representation of yourself and your business. 

#7: Be trustworthy

Relationships are based on trust, which means successful networking requires you to be a most trustworthy person. Be genuine, authentic, and sincere in all you say and do to establish yourself as a trustworthy person. Anything else will undermine your efforts and undo all the hard networking you’ve done.

 

Concentrate on these principles of networking, and make sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Ask the Fedora: Networking Skills Can Be Learned, Don’t Worry!

This week on Ask the Fedora: Networking Skills Can Be Learned, Don’t Worry!

Transcript:

As a new entrepreneur everyone says you have to do networking. But you may be saying to yourself “I hate networking and I don’t like talking to people because everything they say is a sales pitch and I’m going to be sold sold sold”. Well, if you don’t network, you’re not going to have any work. It’s something to learn. They call it a networking skill; The more you go the better you get. A few years ago when I was just starting-out, I would tell everybody my ‘elevator pitch’….”oh you need me, I’m so great blah blah blah”. I soon realized that maybe this wasn’t the best way to approach things. As a new entrepreneur you have to go through this process and see what works best for you and your company. There are always going to be people who look at you funny, but there are others who will buy-into what you’re doing. Whatever happens, keep going to the events as it’s something you need to do in order to be in business in five years from now. Keep the networking up, and if it doesn’t come naturally, it will. Don’t worry. Take a deep breath.

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Ask The Fedora: Why You Should Love Your Business Cards

You want to be absolutely confident about your business, and part of that means being confident when you hand out your business cards. If don’t feel ready, don’t give them out. Jarrod explains more in this week’s #AskTheFedora!

Transcript:

Congratulations on finally getting your business cards in the mail! NOW we’re ready to start networking. If you really love your business cards, you’re going to really love giving them out to people. If there are still a couple of tweaks you need to do to your business card I would say don’t give them out yet. For the first four versions of my business card I wasn’t so happy with them. When someone would ask for one, I always felt a bit shy which was not a very good first impression. I actually stopped giving business cards for a while until I had my fifth order of business cards. At that point I was so happy to promote my business because I absolutely loved the cards. When you’re creating your business cards, make sure they are perfect and then it will be a much easier opportunity to get your business known around town because of your awesome business cards. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Ask the Fedora: What Business Cards Say About Your Business

How much effort did you put into making your business cards? Did you account for how much your card represents your brand in one tiny handout? Today’s #AskTheFedora explains what your business card may be saying about you!

Transcript:

Congratulations on starting your new business! As a startup, you may not have much money to put towards marketing and branding. However, you must have business cards. It’s normal to think that you’ll do everything yourself, including getting some fancy paper and printing business cards on your home printer. When you start giving them out, however, they may actually look like a home-made business card. Be wary of this since business cards are often the first impression people have of your business. It’s worthwhile to take the time and spend some extra money with a graphic designer and have them printed with a local printing company. Make sure they are the BEST business cards you can offer. This is important because as mentioned, business cards are often the very first impression, and last impression as people are going-through all the business cards they received at the end of the night. Yours has to stand-out. You want people to keep your business card rather than simply file it or throw it away. Take the time and spend the extra $50 on fancy gloss or whatever neat options you decide because it really is a representation of your professionalism and your business. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Ask the Fedora: Should You Network Without Business Cards?

Our #AskTheFedora series continues this week with an important question often asked by entrepreneurs: should I go to networking events if I don’t have my business cards yet?


Transcript:

If you’ve just started a business and don’t have business cards yet, should you still attend networking events? It’s a good idea to at least start going to the events to see how they work even if you don’t have business cards yet to start learning some important skills such as observing other peoples’ body language and their tone of voice. If somebody asks you for a business card, you may not wish to say you’ve only been in business two weeks. Rather, it might be wise to say that you’re working on the business cards and should have them arrive in the next few weeks. At entrepreneur networking events, it’s always smart to ask for someone else’s business card. Then, mention that you’d be very happy to follow-up with them. Take the time to make sure that your business cards are perfect before you start giving them out. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

Following-Up After A Networking Event – Yay or Nay?

The joys of following-up after a networking event – don’t count people out!

Transcript:

Why would you follow-up with someone you just met at an entrepreneur networking event if you know they will never need your products or services? If you don’t follow-up with every single person you met it’s very short-sighted because you never know where your referrals will come from. As an example, if you’re talking to someone and you know in a million years they will never contact you for business, but you might develop a really great relationship with this person. In the future if they are ever looking for your kind of service or product, or hear of anyone else looking for those items, you might be the first one they recommend. If somebody spends five minutes of their life talking to you at a networking event, spend the five minutes it takes to follow-up with them with something like this: “It was nice meeting you at the event last night and I really enjoyed our conversation. If you’d like to continue where we left-off over a coffee meeting it would be my pleasure to meet”.  This is so that you can start developing a relationship with that person. Always follow-up with somebody. It doesn’t matter if they may or may not be a good resource for you now because you never know what the future is going to bring. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

If You Hate Networking Watch This

Don’t write off networking if you want to do what is best to help your business succeed. If you are one of the networking “haters”, watch what Jarrod has to say to you!

Transcript:

You hate networking. It’s like pulling teeth trying to go to an event in order to sell your business. After many years of seeing literally thousands of people with all kinds of personality types go to networking events, I’d say you just have to go out there and connect with people in the community. If people don’t see your business, than where are they going to find you? It’s one thing to have the connections on social media (as it’s a very important part of marketing to have a great website, Facebook & Twitter accounts, YouTube videos etc), but nothing will ever beat the face to face part of networking. This is where people can get to see your personality and get to know more about YOU. If you don’t like networking, suck-it-up and start going to out some of the events to start practicing the networking because it will get easier the more people you introduce yourself to and you connect with. Happy networking everybody. See you at the next event. Because #eSAX makes networking work

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!

How To Find Networking Events

We all know about the amazing eSAX networking events, but how do you find other events to attend while you wait 3 months for each one?

Transcript:

Where do you find out about upcoming networking events? There are so many opportunities in every city to help encourage and promote entrepreneur networking. Get involved with a local Chamber of Commerce as they are always a great resource to find out about upcoming events. Go onto Meetup, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Google and type networking events in your city. Or you may wish to contact some of the well-known entrepreneurs in your area because they are probably very well-connected with other networking events that you may not have known about. Don’t stay home and wait for the networking events to come to you. You need to be proactive and find out what’s going on because in many cities there are so many networking events happening around town that you need to pick and choose which ones would be applicable for you and your business. So get out there and keep networking, because #eSAX makes networking work!

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions and Jessica from Hewett Ripley Communications!