People want to do business and deal with other people that they like and can also trust. It is critical for a small business to build and maintain great relationships with their customers. To grow sales and increase buyers, keep in mind these simple small business networking tips.

Networking events are a great place to start building lasting relationships. The first small business networking tip to think about is planning your strategy and setting goals for your next networking event. Bringing a friend along is a good idea to help meet even more key people. Start by setting realistic goals, like meeting a small handful of quality contacts. There is a short period of time you have to follow-up, so make sure you are meeting the right people.

One of the most important small business networking tips to follow is to arrive early. It is more beneficial to arrive to networking events early than late. You will get the chance to check out the event and figure out which contacts you want to mingle with. Be prepared with a great intro and try to develop a memorable conversation that will leave a lasting impression.

It is best to be more interested in your contact than to be interesting. Focus on listening to what the other person has to say. It comes down to treating others how you want to be treated. By acting intrigued, having eye contact, asking questions and calling them by their first name, then they are going to see that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying. This builds a good first impression that could lead into a lasting relationship. Don’t be afraid to show your passion. Others will pick up on this and it is an easy way to have a fun and informal conversation.

Always keep in mind this small business networking tip, do not be too pushy! You don’t want to be walking around the event just handing out business cards to everyone. Give a card only when asked or after you have had an established introduction and conversation. Also remember that presentation is key. You want to look professional and act accordingly at networking events.

There is a short amount of time to follow-up with the contact you have met. Within 48 hours, you want to either connect with them on LinkedIn or send them an email to schedule a follow-up meeting. Many people were probably met at the event, so make sure to mention something that is going to make them remember you. This is where a memorable story and showing your passion comes in handy!

Small business networking isn’t difficult, it just takes time and practice. The more you attend networking events, the more you will get a feel for them. Eventually you will be a networking pro and creating lasting relationships that will lead to a successful business.

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