Making new contacts at local business networking events is one of the best ways to promote your business and find potential prospects. But to really make the most of your networking efforts you need to follow up after the meeting. One of the best ways to do this is to invite someone to lunch to get to know them better and to start building a relationship with them. It's a low cost, easy way to connect and it's fun too!
Do you talk to strangers? Unfortunately one of the side effects of parents telling their kids not to talk to strangers lingers when they are adults and need to make connections for their business. Apparently I was not paying attention when Mom was dishing out this advice, because I love to talk to strangers.
Here's some ideas for making it easier for you.
1) Smile. People are naturally attracted to people who smile at them and it eases the way into a conversation.
2) Be approachable. If you are in a hostile, hurried or anxious state of mind, people avoid you. When you want to connect with people, be calm and centered.
3) Be friendly. If you are standing in a line at the store or someone asks you a question about how to find something, jump in start a conversation or provide some helpful advice. Some of my best conversations have been with strangers. Remember a stranger is a friend you haven't met yet!