For Commercial Loan Brokers and Lenders it’s no secret that the success of your business relies heavily on networking. In a business-to-business industry that involves clients, or referral partners, trusting you with their finances, making a lasting and positive impression is key. We know what you’re thinking, “But networking is such a drag.” and “I’m never sure of what to do.” The good news is that most people at the event are thinking the exact same way. Here are some tips on how to shake off the jitters and make the most of your next networking event.
Tip # 1: Be Yourself
It’s a fact that not everyone who you network with will be a good fit for building a business relationship with, so being anything other than yourself can waste your networking minutes. Being true to who you are will help both you, and the potential business associate, to determine if a business relationship could be mutually beneficial in an efficient amount of time.
Tip # 2: Set Clear Goals & Plan
Before coming to the conference, take a moment to determine what your goal is. Are you coming to meet 5 new lenders? Or are you coming to network with other successful brokers? Perhaps your goal is to accomplish both. Networking is the main purpose of the conference, but having clear goals and an action plan will help you get the most out of the conference.
Tip # 3: Take Notes
At the conference you are likely to meet a lot of individuals, so keeping track of those you meet can be hard. If you’re networking with someone that you feel you would like to do business with, ask them for a business card then make a note on the back of the card. If you don’t have the option or the time to do this during the day, be sure to make time each night to reflect on the connections you’ve made and organize the information in a notebook.
Tip # 4: It’s not about you
Networking is about building relationships. When meeting someone for the first time look them in the eye, repeat their name, suggest topics everyone in the group can discuss, and most importantly listen to what others have to say.
Tip # 5: Follow up
The most important step for networking success is to follow up! In the week after the conference, take the time to contact everyone you networked with. Send them a short note thanking them for their time and attention, and let them know that you look forward to working with them in the future.
Pro Tip: Make your first follow up after the conference personalized to the person that you met. Simply blanketing every new connection with the same message is not effective when it comes to building personal relationships.