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You went to the networking event,
Now what?

1) Create a plan: When you go to a networking event, have a plan of action laid out in advance. Consider what you are going to talk about and what you are going to give away. If you plan to simply do a business card exchange, discuss how you will follow up and how networking together can help both of you. Consider bringing along newsletters or coupons that you are running. If you provide a service, a pamphlet highlighting your company can go a long way. Collect business cards from everyone you meet and jot down personal notes about them or their business whenever possible.

2) First Impressions: Always dress professionally at any networking event you attend. Avoid suggestive attire that may give the wrong impression. Make sure you have enough business cards or other marketing materials to hand out. Keep a pen with you to take notes.

3) Proper behavior: Do not drink excessively at any networking event. You need to stay businesslike and leave a good impression. Avoid talking too much about yourself or topics that are overly personal in nature. Remember, this is not a dating opportunity so avoid flirting or any behaviors that may offend others. It is a good rule to keep conversations to three minutes in a crowded room. Allow the individual to talk so you have more material to follow up with. Your intention is to follow up and keep the connection going. The more you know, the better the chance of a long lasting business relationship.

4) Keep it simple: Don't try to sell your product or book appointments unless the
person shows a direct interest in doing so on the spot. Everyone is there to network and meet as many people as they can. It is not a good time for a sales pitch!

5) Follow up:  Make phone calls to anyone that you created any sort of arrangement with. It is recommended that you do this within 48 hours of the event. You want to contact them while they still remember you. Send an email out to every person that you collected a business card from. In your email, thank them for the connection and give a reminder to who you are and what your business is. Incorporate a question in the email to provoke a response, it may be about their services, specials or how you can help them with a referral. Always try to include something personal about the individual or their business. Never send out a mass email to each person you meet, it is simply too cold.

6) Avoid Spamming: Before you send out any marketing materials to your new contacts, always make sure you have asked first if you can add them to your newsletter list. It is easy to offend a new connection by filling up their mailbox with spam.

7) Social Networking: Don't forget to search for your new connections on your
social networks. Grow your business by including all new contacts to Linkedin,
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other networking website you use for business. If your new contact were to unsubscribe from your marketing emails, they most likely will not remove you from their social networking list. This is a good way to keep your advertising seen across all of your networks.

8) Stay in the game: Follow up with your new contacts when appropriate. Offer to highlight their website on your social networking page, newsletter or website. Visit the social pages of your new connections and like and endorse their posts.

9) Keep at it: Networking takes time and commitment but you'll start to see familiar faces every time you attend an event. Most people that are attending these venues are seeking connections just like you and attend many functions. Work on building the relationships with people you recognize, this is the best way to gain trust and get the referrals you are seeking.

10) Always show gratitude: When you get referrals always follow up to thank the person who referred you. Even if the customer did not purchase from you,
your contact still sent the referral in your direction. When a new customer does purchase from you or use your service, it is always appreciated if you take out the person who referred you to lunch as a thank you. Growing these connections will work in your favor.

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Network Palm Beach does not individually endorse any group or event. The calendar submissions are a courtesy for marketers to locate venues. You must RSVP directly to the networking group of the function you wish to attend. Some groups may require membership to attend. Before attending any event listed on this website, you must contact the group for details, costs, memberships and requirements. Dates of events are not guaranteed and may be changed by the group hosting the event.
Always RSVP to events so that the host can notify you if an event is cancelled or changed.

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