Breaking bread with other people is a wonderful way to meet people and to move a relationship forward. People tend to let their guard down and open up when a meeting takes place over a meal.
The Chamber hosts numerous events, with plenty of round tables and we know by the many stories we hear that relationships are built over meals and many result in sales!
Just think about it this way. If you go to one round-table awards banquet event a month…you’re doing a couple of great things. First, you’re helping an organization achieve their goals and second you meet and network with 9 people per month…while you’re eating your lunch or dinner! How convenient is that?
The results for chewing and chatting with other business owners can really be a meaningful use of time. Now the next question is…How can you make your table be a successful networking table?
Here are a few hints and tips:
1. Be sure to introduce yourself to everyone at the table. If someone arrives late, be sure you acknowledge them too.
2. Either hand your business card around the table so everyone can take one, or personally go back around and hand everyone a card. This shouldn’t be intrusive but simply a subtle way to state you know the value of networking. (You should never feel embarrassed by handing out your business card at a chamber event. That’s the #1 reason why businesses join – to network!)
3. Ask to get others business card. This is another way to start a conversation. Simply look at the card, show interest, and ask them a question, like…what exactly is your role at ABC Company?
4. If you go with someone you work with please don’t sit together. Double the opportunity to enhance your exposure. If you feel like you have to sit at the same table, at least don’t sit next to each other.
5. If you don’t want to go alone, invite a prospect or customer to go with you. This is a great way to share the value and the experience.
6. Have fun and convey energy. People are more likely to open up if they feel others are truly interested and are fun to be around.
7. Listen to what your momma told ya…Try to avoid talking with your mouth full…and always have a breath mint readily available.
Sharing a meal helps to build trust and more solid relationships. People prefer to do business with people they like, and breaking bread provides an ideal opportunity for people to get to know each other.
Business professionals and executives in all fields are looking at new strategies and methods for achieving their goals. Budgets have been cut to the bone. Networking and entertaining clients, often seen as frivolous, are typically some of the first items to go.
This is a big mistake. In fact, I challenge that perspective with the idea of doing more of them, not less. This is a wonderful way to get out of the office, learn something new, network with other professionals…and eat!
Creating quality face-to-face time with clients has never been more important.
There is a wonderful “round table” opportunity in front of you now. The Chamber is hosting our 24th Annual Small Business Celebration Luncheon this Wednesday. I urge you to make your reservation and work on building your business. Get the details and register for the event here!
Please join me Wednesday!