Earlier this year I saw keynote speaker Kelly Baker-Jamieson, owner and founder of Edible Blooms. Her brand had become well recognised in South Australia with five out of eight people in SA recognising her brand, but not as well received in other capital cities. Thinking outside the square, Kelly came up with a great idea to make an impact on her target markets interstate. To make an impression and become recognized she tried something different and as a result was able to get the attention of her prospective customers. Her strategy was to dress up as a strawberry and hand out flyers about her business in George Street, Sydney CBD. She has since opened stores in Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia. Taking risks in this way has paid off for her and her business and it has also helped to get her brand recognized and remembered.
My story is not unlike Kelly’s. Balance Books has become quite well known in Adelaide, however interstate we are not as well known, yet. At this year’s 2015 Xerocon and even more recently at the Ausmumpreneur Awards 2015, both held in Melbourne Australia. I’ve came up with an idea with the help of Peace Mitchel (founder of Ausmumpreneur) which I was sure would make an impact and ensure that people would not forget who I was and what my business was about.
I wore a beautiful dress covered in one hundred dollar bills (unfortunately the notes were not authentic) but I still felt like a million bucks, literally! I received so much attention not only from the Rod Drury the CEO of Xero and The Hon Minister Bruce Billson for Small Business, I also from many other business owners and specialists in my field approaching me wanting to know more! Contacts were made and relationships were forged all on the back of this clever marketing strategy. By taking a risk and standing out my business has become better known that it was previously. Here are some ideas that you could try to get people to stand up and take notice of you and your business at your next networking event.
1. Wear something that will stand out! The obvious one is to dress up as I did in an outfit that is symbolic to your filed. Stand out in the crowd. It also makes an interesting conversation point with others who are attending the event.
2. Be the only person like yourself in the room. Make a lasting impression and be different in any way you can to everyone else in the room.
3. Make it Personal. Networking does not have to be all about business. Taking an interest in the personal of your fellow attendees is a great way to make lasting connections with people. To make things more personal can sometimes help to build stronger and longer lasting relationships.
4. Really listen to what people have to say. Make sure you are listening to what others have to say and not just eager to get your own information out or point across. You can learn a lot about other people’s businesses in this way, and this information can be valuable in ascertaining how you can offer your services in some way to help their business achieve success.
5. Be social media savvy. Make sure you are tweeting and updating your status on your social media during the event. Try and get as many photos as you can of yourself with others. Be sure to grab as many business cards as you can and follow up with requests and connections to ensure that the business relationship can be maintained.
Try and incorporate one or more of these ideas at your next networking event and you will be pleasantly surprised by how much more you can get out of the event not only professionally but also personally.
Happy Networking and Good Luck!