Skip to main content
Business MarketingFeaturedKnow and Grow Your Business

Business Networking to Increase Sales: A Step-by-Step Guide

By April 16, 2020November 23rd, 2023No Comments

Small business owners have enough on their plate as is. From working out on-site to satisfying clients’ needs to even managing the financial aspect of your business, it leaves little time for business networking. 

Business networking—when done right and with ample research and self-reflection—can lead to businesses reaping more benefits from their return on investment (ROI). Face meetings, in particular, can largely impact businesses positively, with approximately 40% of prospects becoming new customers with in-person meetings, according to an Oxford Economics Study

But before you go… figure out your purpose

Before attending in-person business networking events, first, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is it to increase visibility?
  • Is it to acquire new clients/lead generation?
  • Or to grow your network? 
  • Is your main purpose to meet investors?

The Types of Business Networking Opportunities

Now that you understand what it is exactly that you’re looking for out of a business networking engagement, it’s time to identify where to go—whether that’s online, offline or both.

Whether it’s to increase company visibility, gain traction in lead generation, or simply to expand your business network, there are a plethora of business networking opportunities that small business owners can take advantage of. These include: This service is available on both web and app and allows online groups to organize and host in-person events, based on similar interests. 

Facebook groups/events: Facebook, the world’s largest social network, offers many relevant business events based on your location. 

Webinars: Online webinars hosted by people of similar interests are available online. Whether it’s a live event or a recorded webinar, webinars help connect you to other like-minded folks or professionals in your industry to gain knowledge from. Who knows—these connections might even result in a partnership or successful recruitment of some sort.

LinkedIn groups: This business and employment-focused social network offer private groups that cater to many different industries. If the trades industry is your niche—zero in on these types of private groups to conduct your business networking!

Conferences: Conferences are a fantastic way to meet a large network of people from all walks of life and even different parts of the world. These itineraries usually include built-in networking sessions so it’s an easy way to expand your network organically. 

Pro tip: bring business cards! According to a Moo Survey conducted, 90% of American business owners reported that business cards help them land new business. 

Tradeshows: Tradeshows (also known as trade exhibitions or expo) are organized so that businesses for specific industries can showcase and demonstrate their latest products and services. Another great business networking opportunity, trade shows allow you to meet industry partners and customers, study activities of competitors and examine recent trends and opportunities that can help improve your own business.

How to Prepare for Business Networking

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for out of networking and where to go, it’s time to prepare! 

Do your research 

First off, like the start of any initiative, small business owners must do their research. Much like how you wouldn’t hop on a call with a sales lead without doing your homework, you also shouldn’t attend a conference without getting to know who the players are. 

Typically, conferences will announce the line of speakers ahead of the event. Be sure to review this list so that you have a good sense of who you want to approach and how they can bring value to your business. 

Pro tip: Getting in your head is common for network attendees who are introverted. Approaching others is never an easy task. Instead, hold yourself accountable. Don’t let yourself leave the event without connecting with at least 1-2 people on your list!

Focus on building human connections

Business networking, at the end of the day, is to generate leads. However, it’s equally important to remind business owners that networking is also about building human connections. Stray away from starting conversations in an aggressive manner. At the end of the day, starting every conversation as a sales pitch will only deter many networking participants (or speakers) from getting to know you, for you. Focus on building that rapport before diving into your typical sales pitch.

Following up is a must 

According to a LinkedIn study, 38% of professionals find it difficult to stay in contact with their network, even though they realize it’s important. 

Don’t be like them!

Post webinar or tradeshow, many business owners and participants are guilty of letting the connection that they’ve worked so hard to build fizzle out. That’s why following up within 24-48 hours of the networking opportunity is a must. Simply send a quick “thank-you / it was nice to meet you” email or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.

Pro tip: if you’ve met someone you look forward to connecting with post-event, connect with them via LinkedIn on the day of. That way, even if you have a horrible memory, following up the next day will be that much easier.

Get Started with Business Networking to Increase Your Sales

Taking the time to attend a business networking event is a goal that every small business owner should have. No matter how busy your schedule gets, attending 1-2 conferences a year is still doable. Joining a Facebook Live Chat within your niche, attending a Meetup in your city to find specialized skills, or attending a conference in a nearby town are all opportunities that you can leverage to gain valuable human connections within your industry. As small business owners, don’t do yourself a disservice by missing these available opportunities near you. 

Now that you are equipped with the questions to ask yourself, where to find these online and offline networking activities, and an understanding of how to prepare, go out there and network!

Close Menu