Business is built on relationships and networking is a key tool to make that happen.
But walking into a room filled with strangers can be very a daunting task, says Cambridge Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Greg Durocher.
“The whole trick to networking is understanding what you’re doing,” he says. “You’re not there to make a sale. You’re there to start building relationships because people prefer to do business with others they know, like and trust.”
The Chamber Social, held monthly at a various Members’ businesses, is a great place to build those relationships providing the commitment is there to attend often.
“It’s very much like learning to swim. You don’t learn just by jumping in the pool; you have to continually jump in, and it can be scary,” says Greg. “But the more you do it the more comfortable you become.”
He says by approaching a networking event as way to discover how you can help others can lead to success.
“It might just be offering a recommendation to help them solve a problem and that in itself is doing business. It’s not about being the salesperson, because you’re not selling a product or service, it’s about selling yourself and building a relationship to the point where people will start wanting to do business with you.”
To assist, Greg recommends attending networking events using a tag team approach.
“Tag teams are really important, especially for people who feel a little bit nervous if they’re attending an event where they don’t know many people.”
He says having a comfortable backup will not only give them someone to chat with, but also makes it easier to circulate at an event.
As well, Greg says having a good supply of business cards on hand – in pockets and the car - is vital.
“Having a business card is the authorization you’re giving people to collect the data that’s important to make contact with you,” he says, noting digital cards which utilize a QR code are also good to have. “The only problem with a digital business card is that people have to remember who it was they were speaking with and if they forget your name, it may take time to search it out.”
But when it comes to networking, Greg says ‘repeat, repeat and repeat’ is a must in terms of attendance to build a strong foundation of trust.
“You want to be that one person in the room that virtually everybody knows,” he says. “When you become the person they know, like and trust, that’s going to be your new salesforce because they are the ones who will be referring you and recommending you to others which makes good business sense.”
Put your networking skills to the test at our next Chamber Social which is at Staples, The Business Depot on Monday, Feb. 13 from 5-6:30 p.m
February 19, 2024
July 28, 2023
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
January 29, 2021
March 27, 2020