For many years I have been going to business networking events in Pembrokeshire and found it of grate benefit. It has allowed me to continue gaining new customers, despite the difficult trading conditions. However, there are some skills you will need to develop to help win new customers through it.
Firstly you have got to go up to people and talk to them. Yes this can be difficult at first but with time it becomes easy and in the end second nature.
Secondly, when you introduce yourself to new potential customers, the most important thing to say is the service your business really offers and not the firms name. For example, a childminder might say that she help parents get worry free time to themselves. Modern Print and Design is introduced as a firm that helps people with there printed marketing material and corporate branding, without actually mentioning the business name.
Thirdly, give them your business card and ask them of one of there’s if they do not give you one in return. ( People in Pembrokeshire have a surprising reluctance to give someone there card, even when they themselves have just been given one ).
Fourthly, talk to them about your product, but not at them. This might be done by asking a potential new customer who supplies them at the moment, so they are doing the talking rather than you. Remember, asking questions and listening is far more effective than dominating a conversation. It also allows you to asses if they are a potential new customer.
Filthily, ask them for an appointment. If you don’t you have just wasted an opportunity.
Finally, if they are not ready for an appointment send them an email the next day thanking them for there time and reminding them to call you when they are ready.