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For those starting out in the Business Networking circuit it can be a daunting prospect, something that can easily be pushed aside as a less important or less favorable element of business. When utilised in the right way, attending the right event formats for you, networking can bring many valuable opportunities and widen your businesses awareness. Lucy Middleton, Basepoint Andover Centre Manager, shares some tips from her personal experiences on making the most of networking.

Build your confidence

When starting out, it can be a little nerve wracking walking into a room of people you don’t know and approaching them to start a conversation. I found pushing myself to make these steps built my confidence and I ended up speaking with people I may not have before.    Also knowing your product or service inside out, so that when you talk about what you do, it flows. If you find it daunting perhaps choose a certain format of event at first to ease you in to it, then choose larger events when you feel more comfortable. From informal coffee mornings, up to larger events with one minute talks about your business presented to a group.

It’s not always about sales

I find chatting about all areas of life and actually getting to know peoples character helps. Nothing is more off-putting than a feeling that you are just being sold to and the person is not interested in you as a person. You will naturally form bonds with people, which can be really handy if you want to recommend someone for a service you do not offer. Or you may have an event that you need help planning or need to get certain business sectors involved. If you are invested in someone you will help them, this works both ways. I personally find this can be helpful for:
Event planning – getting expertise on board to plan or host an event.
Speakers for events – securing guest speakers, who can offer tips and advice on many areas of business at our free events
Cross referral – I like to have a good knowledge of the product and services available in my local area, as my clients will often ask for a recommendation or if I know a company they can contact, if I cannot recommend someone internally.

Get your name out there

As people get to know you, they will trust both you and the product and service you represent. It will increase opportunity for cross referrals. If people believe in you and your service they will not hesitate to recommend you, and vice versa.

Basepoint Andover offer a range of free events, regularly held at the centre. To keep up to date on the events being held you can visit the centre events page, or Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/basepoint-andover-15493606335