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Networking is a necessary part of owning a Canadian franchise. Whether you love or hate the idea of having to make connections, doing so will help grow your business. Before you go to your next networking event, keep the four tips below in mind to get the most out of what you're doing.
Define your goals
Before you decide which networking event to go to next, you need to know what you are trying to achieve by going in the first place.
It's tempting to go with a broad goal such as getting more clients. This, however, won't yield results. Instead, focus on creating some strategic partnerships and have a specific idea in your mind of what those partnerships should look like.
Once you're at the event, focusing on finding just one or two new customers is a waste of your time. Use a networking event to focus on those who will bring you new business on a regular basis. If, for example, you have a franchise that focuses on kids, don't just connect with parents at a networking event. Focus on education-centric program leaders, staff or educators instead as this can open the door to a wave of new parents and children for your business.
Know who you're meeting
A networking event can become overwhelming, particularly in a very crowded room. Before you go, look into the organization responsible for the event. Once you are there, you can use your research to connect with someone you know who is also attending, if possible. This is one way to get introduced to someone who can help you build your business, as opposed to spending your time talking to people who don't have a reason to work with you.
Remember it's not just about you
When you first meet someone at an event, lead by getting to know the person first. Don't immediately go into a pitch because this can turn the other person off. Ask questions and listen when they reply. The more you're able to connect with whom you're speaking to on a personal level, the stronger your relationship with them will be.
Have an exit plan
At some point at a networking event, you'll end up talking to someone you don't want to spend your time chatting with. Have an exit plan for these situations. Fake receiving a call and walk away if you have to. If you can, introduce the person to someone who would value that connection.
You must have a plan for using new connections and meeting new people to grow your franchisee. Use the tips above to make the most of every networking event you attend.