The almighty coffee. Not only a delicious beverage but also the ultimate one-on-one networking tool. It’s a great chance to either build relationships with relevant people to your business and industry or to reach out for a specific purpose.
Each time you network, even over coffee, you are building your personal brand and allowing people to form an opinion of you. At some point, these efforts might pay off and help build your business or career because you have made the effort to keep in contact. Anyone that has had a bad networking coffee experience will wish that the other person had read this blog! We will walk you through how it can benefit your business and some simple guidelines to navigate these meetings.
Goal orientated meeting
Arranging a coffee meeting will likely be with someone who’s is relevant and would be able to add value to your business. You might want to pick their brain, ask for some advice or just talk about something new you’ve been working on. It’s not recommended to initiate coffee meetings if you intend to sell a product or service. It’s more courteous to have these meetings if you can both be of value to each other.
“I know you’ve been looking for a new project manager and I have someone who I think will be a fantastic fit if you’d like to discuss it over coffee”.
In this scenario, there is the potential to add value to both parties. If you would be selling we suggest making that clear when setting up the meeting.
An example would be:
“Hi Tom, I would love to chat with you about a business workshop we’re enrolling for that you would love; would you be free for a quick coffee sometime soon?”
This is a transparent approach that the other party is likely to appreciate and you’re able to have a more direct approach in your meeting.
These meetings are fantastic for building relationships. This is an opportunity for you both to catch up and keep updated on each other’s work and personal life, so you will be able to nurture this friendship long term. These are the types of relationships that help word of mouth referrals, drive leads and keep an ear out for opportunities in future.
The benefits of a coffee meeting:
- Small time commitment - thirty minutes to one hour.
- You get to enjoy a cappuccino or a latte; whatever you’re in the mood for.
- Low-cost meeting – only the price of two coffees. It doesn't even have to be a coffee; a tea or hot chocolate will do the trick as well!
Tips for a great coffee meeting:
- Make the location convenient for both of you. Thankfully there is a coffee shop on almost every block, so finding one in between you and the person you’re inviting should be a breeze.
- Don’t forget to focus on the personal element of the meeting. Spend 5 minutes catching up first; be genuinely interested in their life and build rapport with them.
- Listen! Even if you had a specific agenda for the meeting, don’t let it be one-sided.
- Keep it short and sweet. Even if you feel like you could both talk for hours, for a lot of people time is money.
- Close the meeting by saying something on a personal note.
- Follow up with a friendly email or phone call to let the person know you enjoyed catching up
Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re catching up with someone for a business networking coffee. Enjoy your cappuccino!
And to help you make time in your day for great coffee meetings, download our guide to the Top 10 Free Tools for Entreprenuers.