Ok, here we go — the 21.5 BEST places to network are:
1. Chamber of Commerce Business after Hours. Tried and true. They always net a few contacts and renew old friendships. They are also a GREAT place to try out your new 30-second personal commercial. NOTE: Often at a business networking event everyone’s trying to sell — you gotta be able to wear either buyer or seller hat, and listen for your opportunity.
2. A high level Chamber of Commerce event. Board of directors or advisors meeting. Annual dinner. The Chamber of Commerce is your best local networking resource, IF you take advantage of it.
3. Any Business Journal event. Forty under forty, power breakfasts, seminars. Places where movers and shakers go. The Business Journal reader and event attendee demographics are staggering. They are ALL people who make things happen.
4. A networking club or business organization where solid business contacts belong and participate. In
5. Someplace where like-minded people belong. The Touchdown Club, your college alumni club, the ACT users club. Having common ground always gets a conversation going.
6. Any type of class you take to learn more and make yourself better. Toastmaster’s, Dale Carnegie, even learning a foreign language. Other people who want to improve will also be there. You will improve and make lifetime friendships.
7. A civic organization. Rotary, Kiwanis, Elks, Moose, Lions. Any civic animal will do. Meetings are a great place to build relationships with others, and help the community at the same time. SUCCESS HINT: Be a leader not just a member.
8. Attend a cultural event. The theater and the symphony attract people with class and money. Take in a show and meet them.
9. Get involved with a charity or be a community volunteer. Everything from the American Cancer Society to the symphony society has people who help behind the scenes. Be one of them.
10. Your trade or professional association. This is the best place to learn about your product, your competition AND your customers at the same time.
11. Your best customer(s) trade or professional association. This is the great place to learn more about
your customers AND get introduced to your prospects. SUCCESS HINT: Be a seminar presenter, not just an attendee.
12. Trade shows. Both industry specific and general business shows are excellent places to get known, get sales, and get ahead. Take the success hint from above and add the ingredient of hard work rather than party and you have the formula for trade show success. It may be your best networking venue of them all, and most people waste it on having a “non-stop-whoop-it-up-we’re-away-from-home” attitude.
12. Join a private club. A golf country club, a food and networking club like Club Corp. with branches all over the
14. Meal networking. Invite a prospect to dine. Then invite a prospect for him or her. While in the restaurant, see who else is in the bar. Hop around without being rude. Introduce everyone you meet to whoever you brought. Make it ultra friendly. Compliment everyone in your introduction. PERSONAL NOTE: I have a morning
breakfast at Einstein’s Bagels. I love the food and service. I have all my morning meetings there. I ALWAYS meet other people there. My breakfast meeting is always to do a deal. And often my chance meetings result in business. SUCCESS HINT: Own a restaurant or three. Places where you frequent and know the owners and managers. It plays a major role in your meal networking.
15. Health club. Exercise and network. Get healthy and wealthy at the same time. In
16. Sports events. Both games and tailgates. Everyone eventually goes to the ball game. And for the competitive sports nut within you, play The Networking Game, it’s in my book “The Sales Bible.”
17. Parents of your children’s friends. If you have a big prospect whose kid plays ball in the same league as your kid, you’ll have a big advantage to make him a big customer.
18. Happy hour. This can be a great place to make a quick connection. Just don’t get too happy.
19. Karaoke. Not only do you have a blast and meet people, you also improve your presentation skills every time you sing a song.
20. Neighborhood homeowner’s association/condo association. Get to know your neighbors and who they know.
21. The airplane. I don’t mean you need to meet every passenger but get to know your seat mate. You never know who they know until you ask. I always try to sell a book to the person sitting next to me. It’s fun, it’s practice, and it’s profitable.
21.5 Being ready to network when you get there. Woody Allen says 90% of success is showing up. And he’s almost right. Ninety percent of success is showing up PREPARED. Having your personal commercial, or cocktail commercial, or one minute hook ready to spin at a moments notice is evidence of your networking prowess — or not.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on sales and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to email@example.com
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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/333-1112 www.gitomer.com