The perfect method for success:
How do business networking meetings work?
Our format is simple and begins with open networking over tea and coffee with the chance for people to chat openly. We then sit around the room, normally at one large table and one of our Group Leaders will introduce the meeting.
Following this a regular member or guest will present their business in a ten minute showcase. This gives them the opportunity to share more in-depth information on their business, all about their products/services and their background etc.
Each week we have a focus on a particular theme, for example; “resilience”, “self-belief”, “time management” and our speakers will focus on this theme for their presentations.
There is then the opportunity for everyone around the table to introduce themselves and their business in a two minute presentation. These are mostly very informal with people talking in a relaxed manner rather than reading from a script. The main purpose is to find out who you are, what you do and how we can help.
The Group Leader can talk you through this prior to attending if that helps to steady your nerves! You can of course speak for less than two minutes if you prefer. We will then pass our business cards around the table and stop the formal part of the meeting to share a meal together and enjoy more informal networking.
How to Prepare
Dress to Impress
You’re attending a business event, dress as you would to meet your bank manager (to beg for an overdraft!) or to meet a potential new client (there’s going to be plenty of those at our events!!).
This doesn’t mean you need to wear a three piece suit (gents) or a shift dress and high heels (ladies!), BUT you need to be mindful that people are going to be meeting you and instantly forming an impression.
Make sure you are comfortable in your attire and ALWAYS wear a smile.
Business Cards/Flyers are essential reading matter
The people you meet at our events will want to contact you, make sure you bring along your business cards and any flyers or leaflets you want to distribute. If you have one bring a pull up banner to display. They’re eye-catching and if anyone is taking photos to place on social media platforms then your banner will increase your visibility.
The 2 minute presentation
You’ll need to tell us about you and your business so that we know how to help you to find new customers.
DON’T PANIC! If you’ve not done this before then rest assured that: a) you’re not the only one panicking; b) some people aren’t listening because they’re panicking even more than you are! c) we’re here to help. Our group leaders and “seasoned” attendees will be ready and waiting to help fill your 2 minutes with questions to pull out of you what we need to know in order to help you.
There’s no buzzer sounding at the end of your two minutes to “shut you up” there’s sometimes a little beep to let you know to round up your presentation so that the next person can start but we don’t stop you mid-flow!
You’ll need to bring along £20 to pay for your networking (unless you’ve already paid on-line that is!!) A receipt will be sent out by email automatically after the event.
The Perfect 1-2-1
In order to feel comfortable about referring business to anyone in the groups you need to know that you can trust them with your contacts. You can’t get a real sense of this from a 2 minute presentation in a meeting so you’ll need to get to know each other properly.
We encourage all our attendees to arrange 1-2-1 meetings with each other around our networking events.
There are no hard and fast rules with this but we’ve drawn up some etiquette bullet points for you:
- Arrange a meeting where you can have a minimum of one hour to talk. We suggest 90 minutes is best
- Never EVER fail to attend. You can alter your appointment but make sure you give fair notice and only alter with good reason. This is as important as a sales appointment. Who knows where this could lead??
- Ensure that both parties get equal time to talk and educate each other about their businesses
- Take notes, ask questions and if you feel able, give advice and suggestions. You’ll see your business through someone else’s eyes and whilst they don’t know your business like you do, they might surprise you with something incredible that you’d never considered!!
- Consider who you know that would be a good connection for them
- Write action points and follow them through.
- Agree to feedback after your actions have been completed and diarise the feedback so that you don’t forget
Have as many 1-2-1s as you can without having a detrimental effect on your business. They are “where the magic happens”.
A PP referral is a genuine business lead. WE don’t target our attendees to provide referrals so they should always be genuine opportunities to do business.
“My mate at the pub said he needs a plumber.” is not a referral.
“My friend Jonny smith who I know from the local pub is looking for a plumber so I told him all about you and your business and passed on your contact details. In case he doesn’t call you, here’s his contact info.” – NOW THAT IS A REFERRAL.
- Genuine opportunity to do business
- Contact details passed (both ways!)
- Information provided to the potential client about your plumbing business and you as an individual
“My sister sally is opening a hair salon, you should go.” is not a referral (quite honestly it could be seen as an insult unless you’re bald!!).
“My sister sally is opening a new hair salon on the ring road, can you make contact with her on this number, she’s expecting your call, she needs help with getting the best value utility provider” is a referral.
- Genuine opportunity to do business
- Contact details passed
- Information provided to the potential client about you and your business
We don’t shout about referrals passed in our meetings, we don’t know how many millions of pounds of business has been passed in our groups. We know it happens because otherwise people wouldn’t return time and again.