For many business owners, getting face-to-face time with their target audience is key to getting new business, but doing so is not always easy. Members of the Business.com community are often asking, what is the best way to get a meeting with another? We set out to find an answer.
Everyone has something to sell in some shape or form, but many people forget about the value of building relationships and treating others like people. The key to getting those business development meetings is to forget about what you have to sell and instead focus on a goal of getting to know new people and building relationships. When you put others first and approach meetings in a sincere way, getting meetings can be much easier.
There is not a single best way to get a meeting and instead, a you'll need a variety of tools at your disposal. While it’s important to identify your target market, don’t discount reaching out to people who may not necessary buy from you. Ask yourself, does this person have something in common with you; you never know who they may know and plus, you may make a new friend along way whose recommendation to their circle can be more powerful than your introduction to a stranger.
Seek Out Local Interest Groups
Facebook and Meetup are filled with local interest groups. You'll find everything from gardening groups, dog meetups, runners meetups, moms of ABC county and book clubs. Within those groups are scheduled meetups – instant meetings with other instantly. But remember, with these types of groups, business talk is not going to be your No. 1 focus.
Join Professional Organizations
BNI is a great organization for getting business meetings. The organization takes on one person per industry and encourages meetings. Local chamber commerce’s are also good organizations to connect with, often having networking events.
You’ll also want to seek out professional trade organizations in your area. For example, The New Jersey Business Industry Association (NJBIA) is the largest statewide employer association, with more than 20,000 members. While it targets New Jersey, it does have members from surrounding states and anyone can attend its events such as its famous annual Women’s Leadership Forum and its annual Small Business Summit. National organizations such as the National Restaurant Association and TriMega Purchasing Association have events that like BNI, encourage business meetings.
Connect on LinkedIn
When you see someone on LinkedIn you'd like to connect with in person, send them a note. Introduce yourself and explain that you're looking to build your network. Invite them for coffee. You don't ever want to sell yourself in these emails. Instead, simply send a friendly hello. Make sure to do a little digging into their location so they don't have to drive to far to meet strangers. Appreciate the fact that everyone is busy.
Keep in mind that not all meetings need to be in-person meetings. If you are targeting people who don’t live near by, suggest a Skype or Facebook meeting.
Show Off Your Expertise and Be Helpful
Show that you are an expert in your industry and have something valuable to offer by volunteering for speaking gigs. For example, if you work in the health and wellness industry, ask your local gym or yoga studio if you could do a presentation on mindful living. If you sell mortgages, inquire with your local library on giving a workshop on smart home buying for first time homebuyers. People can appreciate being taught something new and giving a little bit of your expertise away for free can easily result in meetings naturally coming together. You never know who might show up and who you might meet while mingling.
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