Meet people: network on and offline 145
10 places to meet new people
Networking is all about meeting new people, but where? Being where your
potential customers can be found is easier said than done. Here are ten
places you might try. Some are less obvious than others!
1 Exhibitions – you don’t have to exhibit to do business at a trade fair. Go where your
potential customers are exhibiting and chat to them when the event is quiet.
2 Networks – business networks of all kinds can be a good source of new contacts.
3 Conferences – be seen at the events where new ideas in your business sector are
being discussed. Prepare and ask challenging questions too – it gets you noticed.
4 Where your customers gather – if several of your customers use the same golf club,
other members might be worth meeting too. Why not join and find out?
5 Seminars – what are the emerging topics of interest to your better customers?
Attend seminars that explore them – or maybe even organise some yourself.
Protest meetings – if your customers are protesting about slow broadband, poor trans-
port or a new wind-farm consider joining in – providing, that is, you agree with them!
7 Reunions – the chance to meet former school chums, college pals or one-time col-
leagues might result in some good business connections. Reunions can also be fun!
8 Local schools – if your business sells to families then get involved with the local
school. Do something that helps the school and introduces you to parents. Don’t try
to sell; just make it easy for people to know what you do!
Through volunteering – lots of people have successfully broadened their network
by volunteering. People who give their time tend to be more successful than those
10 By making the news – get yourself in the local or business press regularly and
people will want to network with you.
People do business with people they know. So the more people who know you,
the more new customers you are likely to meet. It really is a numbers game!
146 brilliant checklists for entrepreneurs
Rules of networking
make a point of trying to meet new people;
become comfortable describing what you do;
hand out business cards;
encourage those you meet to introduce you to others;
follow up any leads or introductions within 24 hours.
spend too much time networking – you have to work too!;
complicate your elevator pitch – detail can come later;
grab the attendance list and follow up everyone on it – you’ll annoy
try to sell to everyone you meet;
forget to introduce those you meet to others you think can help them.
Three golden rules of networking
Listen more than you speak.
Help others before expecting them to help you.
Remember that shy people are often the most interesting – make an effort!