Introverted entrepreneurs often prefer running B2B companies, because they don’t want to deal with customers every day. Unfortunately, you still have to get out and meet people to drum up new business.
Do you enjoy the freedom of running your own B2B business, but dread meeting new people? It can be difficult to grow your business as an introvert.
Here are some B2B networking tips for introverted entrepreneurs that are having trouble stepping out of their comfort zone.
1. Begin B2B Networking Online
Jennie Lyon, a virtual assistant from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, encourages introverted entrepreneurs to use social media to build new relationships. There are a lot of great websites that can help you break the ice.
You can also use your own website as a catalyst. Many popular B2B companies encourage people to contact them online.
You can also form connections over LinkedIn, Meetup.com and other networking sites. You can break the ice online, which will make it easier to connect with people in person.
You don’t have to be the center of attention. Many people simply appreciate having someone that is willing to listen.
3. Emphasize Your Own Talents
Most introverts don’t like small talk very much. Instead of chitchatting at the next networking event, you should have a clear elevator pitch that emphasizes your unique value proposition.
Miles Austin, the founder of Fill the Funnel, emphasizes the importance of knowing your own talents. What are you really good at?
“Each of us is an expert in something. Identify what I call your “Wow” talent and focus in on that,” he writes.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Stick to Business
A lot of people go to networking events to mingle. They may want to enjoy a couple glasses of wine while reminiscing with a couple other professionals.
You don’t need to feel pressured into making small talk if you aren’t comfortable with it. You can keep things professional. Lead off with your elevator pitch and see if anyone is interested. If you into people that need your services, they will definitely ask to follow up.
5. Don’t Use Alcohol as a Social Lubricant
Socially anxious people are often tempted to drink alcohol to loosen up. There is nothing wrong with having a drink when you go to a networking event, but you don’t want to indulge just to calm your nerves.
When you start drinking a bit, you are more likely to make foolish decisions. You may feel the need to act silly to fit in, but may end up embarrassing yourself in the process.
Resist the urge to drink to ease your nerves. Just try to be yourself.
6. Choose Networking Events Carefully
There are a lot of different networking events. Some are catered towards socializing, such as the Elks Club and many young professional groups. Others are focused primarily on lead generation.
If you are not interested in mingling, then you should choose events that focus on making valuable business connections. BNI is one of the best. Most people are there strictly for business opportunities and won’t care if you don’t want to make small talk.
7. Try to Go With a Friend
If you have trouble making connections on your own, then you may want to attend networking events with a friend. Bring somebody that is more outgoing.
They can initiate conversations. You can feel free to interject when you have something valuable to contribute. Otherwise, you can let your friend carry the conversation.
Make sure that your friend has a professional attitude. You want to invite somebody that will make you look good.
8. Ask People to Connect One-to-One
Many introverts struggle to socialize in group settings. However, they can do just fine one-to-one.
If you meet somebody that you connect with, you may want to invite them to have an individual meeting sometime. You may feel a lot more comfortable talking with them there, rather than in the middle of a crowded bar or other networking venue.