Your offline networking toolkit

Being prepared for a networking event can save you a lot of time. Knowing your intention before you step in the door will help you stay focused. With a business networking toolkit you will have everything you need to present yourself to potential business partners.

Business flyer
A flyer that includes your mission statement in 1 – 2 sentences along with your contact information can be an asset during large networking events. Staple a business card to the top if necessary. Remember to concentrate on the people with whom you can truly develop a relationship.

Is your site mobile ready? If so, make sure you add a QR code to your flyer. This way they can instantly see what you are all about. It also makes it easier to send a quick thank you or set up a meeting after a gathering.

Question and Answer Sheet
Having a question and answer sheet prepared before you attend an event will help you stay focused on your purpose which is to gain quality contacts. You want contacts that can help your business move forward. At the same time you want to find ways in which you can refer people effectively that will benefit them.

Some sample questions might be:
What type of customer are you looking for?
What do you want or need from me?
How can I help you move forward?

Preparing your answers to these questions ahead of time will put you ahead of most businesspeople.

Testimonials and Success Stories
Have a copy of testimonies and success stories of clients who have used your service or product. This will add legitimacy or proof to the effectiveness of what you do. It is also a great resource to have after presenting your business elevator speech or 30 second “about me” speech. Upon hearing the speech and piquing their interest you can present real-life examples.

Current Business Issues
Staying current on your industry is a must. When attending a networking function having a small list of what’s hot in your niche can be useful for conversation starters and for input from your peers. Knowing how a certain trend is affecting others can be valuable. It can help you improve your own business and help them with theirs.

Business Cards
It might not need mentioning but remember to bring your business cards. You would be surprised how many businesspeople forget this necessary tool. Before an event review your current business card. Does it have the essential information?  Name, Contact Information, Purpose & Offer, Your Logo – If not you might need to update them before the event.

Prepare the tools for your business networking kit ahead of time so that when you attend an event you will be ready to network effectively. Be sure that you update these tools when necessary. Remember, too, that a contact made is not really useful until you follow-up. After the event, take time to sent thank-you notes either via snail mail or email. Enter the contacts into your networking spreadsheet or address book so that when a potential client needs a service that you don’t provide you can refer one of your new business colleagues.

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