Here are a few tips from top networkers.
Find the right group. Networking can be exhausting work and running all over town isn't the best strategy. Make sure you target your networking efforts the same way you target your marketing efforts. Who is your ideal client and where does she shop? where does she work? Where does she hang out, volunteer, spend her time? Many potential clients have similar interests. Maybe they work out. Try looking for local instructional classes or presentations at your local gyms, yoga studios, holistic wellness centers. Maybe she works in an office brimming with more potential clients. Find out where they go after work, maybe they have a ladies night at a local establishment you can crash. Boutiques, make up stores, shoe stores and similar businesses also have many clients that are fashion forward or at last fashion conscious. Many of these stores have trunk shows, VIP events or speakers. Look on yelp or your local fashion pages on Facebook for the 411. Volunteer events bring like minded women together and are often looking for more volunteers. Take the time to get involved with a local charity event and get inside. Taking one class per week at a local gym or work out studio can put you in contact with health conscience like minded women. Get to know the instructors and offer to host an after work out party at your salon with free mini services or just snacks, drinks and a tour of your place.
Start with easy questions. Like May I join you? What brings your here? How's business? Make sure you listen intently, not just to formulate your response. "Really? tell me more about it? Or why do you feel that way? are always good follow up questions.
Ditch the elevator speech. Anything too contrived will automatically turn your audience off and make them question your motives. No one may even ask you about your business the first visit. If they do, have a light quick response ready making sure to mentally go over a few recent achievements relevant to the group. If you have a client already in the group, now is the time to name drop. People like to know you are connected. They are much more likely to warm up if you already service someone in their tribe.
Share what makes you passionate about your business. Maybe a short story about why you were inspired to start your own business or begin a beauty career. Do you use a more natural approach? Are you a sanitation fanatic? What about your passion sets you apart, makes you memorable? Ask what inspires others or what their passionate about in their work. Enthusiasm is contagious and memorable.
Last but most important, follow up, follow up and follow up. Yes it's that important. So many business people let so much business slip through the cracks by not following up after the event. If you have business cards make sure to send a quick so great to meet you email. Keep a cheat sheet in your contact page with what you talked about and when you see an interesting article relevant to their business or even hobby you shared send it along. If you don't have a linked in account create one, so many business women are on this site it is well worth the time. So pick your battle ground and get out there and network this week.