The welcome sheet / guest book at the entrance allowed everyone to sign-in (not a bad idea for the host to follow-up with people, the list included name and email address). The welcome table had a sign that read something to the effect of, 'Write your name and how you know the host.'
Some people put client, some people put vendor, some people put friend or family member. I hadn't met the host yet. I did know Julia and I knew that the website launch part of the party was all about the website and branding work that Julia did for the client. So, for my name tag I wrote, 'Dave Makar' and 'Friend of THE website designer'.
The regular, 'Hi, how do you know the host' was changed to, 'Oh! You are a friend of the designer? And she's here? Can you introduce me to her? I want to see the site! There's the site on the monitor. How do well do you know the designer? I'm looking for a designer.' It was a great way to connect with more people - without selling my services (that's for others in my word-of-mouth network to do) and with letting people self select if they want to meet the fabulous Julia who just redesigned and re-branded the look of the host of the party.
As I was introduced and met people throughout the evening I had an instant way to connect these new connections to Julia. I always favor the in-person introduction when meeting a new prospect, referral source, future client, and friend. If you think about the last person you met and became good friends with - did you get connected by a third party in person? How did that change the speed that your relationship developed?
Next time you are at a networking event, consider promoting your referral partner, right on your name tag! It'll take a little imagination and creativity, but the results will be major deposits in your relationship.
- Use your networking time to help others, not just to sell yourself
- Be creative in how you help others
- Make introductions on behalf of your referral partners
- Make these connections face to face
- Include a positive and supportive testimonial for your referral partner
- Network with the mantra of 'Givers Gain'