1. Qualify the people you meet at any event. When you are making simple conversations, figure out if they are a potential client, a potential referrer or someone who simply needs your help. These are the only categories that you need to worry about when talking to people. Ask yourself, do they sound like someone who would pay for your services, someone who knows other people who would pay for your services or someone who is deserving of your help.
2. Be personable by asking relative questions. The best way to break the ice is to introduce yourself first. Hi my name is Sweeney Mae and I’m here because I know the host and I’m hoping to meet a few contacts, what about you? Then they tell you their name and why they are there. Feel free to ask if they’ve tried the food, or how’s their drink or where they are coming from and if traffic was bad. Be personable. Ask them if they are here to meet someone in specific or just to network. Maybe you are their gateway to meeting someone they came to meet.
3. Be as valuable as you can be. Tell them about you and what you do or your business and ask them if there is anyway you can be of service to them. Don’t discuss money right away because if this person is a potential client, they will pay for your services, and if not, maybe you can be of value to them by helping them with your connections. If you are a marketing expert, perhaps you can offer a free consultation. If you are a graphic artist, perhaps you can offer them a free evaluation of their brochures, flyers and business cards. Offer any complimentary services to them. If you can’t think of anything for free that you can offer then maybe it’s time to design one for future use. Plenty of businesses offer free consultation or samples of your products. Don’t make them feel obligated to purchase, perhaps tell them you’re simply looking for feedback.
4. Ask for their business card. Instead of handing out your business cards so easily, ask for theirs instead. If you have something specific in mind that you want to follow up with them about, it’s better that you have their card. Giving them your card doesn’t guarantee that they will get in contact with you.
5. Keep it short and conclude your meeting with a firm handshake. For your own sake, summarize any follow ups that need to be done. For example: “Nice meeting you here today Jane, I have your card and within the next week or two, I will be sending you a link to my e-book. You will enjoy it and it will definitely help you at your upcoming event. I look forward to receiving information about your event!” Shake their hand and then write a note on their business card right away so you will not forget what the meeting was about.