Many people think that business meetup groups are about ‘selling’ yourself or your business to everyone in the room with you, but really that’s not what these meetups are always about.
Building a Relationship
Joining a meetup group is more often about building a relationship, as you meet people in the group it’s highly likely that some of them will be competitors of yours or in a very similar business. Normally you’d just avoid them, after all they’re unlikely to buy anything from you. You need to look at competitors in a different light, you need to look at what they can teach you. This is the attitude you need to make meetups work for you, sharing information is a vital element of a meetup.
Be Someone People Want to Work With
Business networking goes beyond sales. How can you ‘share’ with another business? What added value do you give to potential customers? How do you attract customers? What information will you share? How do you encourage your customers and other businesses to give you referrals? All of these questions are really what meetups are for. Everybody is there to promote their own company and service you need to think about how you will stand out.
Learn Some Networking Skills
Not everyone finds these networking events comfortable, but it is a skill that you can learn. There are plenty of business networking courses you can take online to that will build on the skills you already have and help you make the right connections. In the meantime here’s a video from TED on successful networking.
People Buy from People they Like
This is why going to meetup events is so important, it gives you the opportunity to meet and build relationships with new people. Bear in mind that you aren’t going to make friends with everyone in the room. You need to identify those you have built relationships with and can benefit, directly or indirectly, from what you offer.
What Qualities do you Possess that Make People Work With?
Think for a second about the people you buy from and do business with, the people you deal with directly. Why do you choose that person? They provide a product or service you needed at the time but that wasn’t the only reason was it? You work with them because at some level you connected, no one wants to spend time with someone they hate. Now sit down and think for a moment about the qualities other people appreciate in you when they work with you, make a note of them and make a note of things you’d like to improve on.
Before you head over to your next meetup, and it can be a social or business meetup, remember all the reasons you noted previously as you meet and greet new people. Make your introductions reflect these qualities. Successful introductions allow you to build the relationships you’re looking for.