Networking Master Class eBook | Free Resource Download
|Tags:||Networking, lead generation, development, sales training|
Leads, prospects, clients and contacts are all linked with successful networking, when it comes to owning a business or being part of one it’s always important to work on your networking abilities and aim to attend a lot of them.
However you can attend the event but not actually be present and there are plenty of examples out there:
- Standing in the corner, not actively engaging.
- Looking unhappy to be there or unwelcoming.
There is a vast difference between successful and negative networking, both of which tend to pass over to your work ethics too – this should also be another reality check.
The purpose of this ebook is to give you all the tools you need to effectively network and generate new business and long term contacts.
3 Different Approaches to Networking
Business networking tends to bring out the worst in people, the fear of the events, the lack of motivation to attend them, the act of brilliance and so on but many people just hate the potential awkwardness that comes with the events – initiating the conversation, keeping it going, then getting the contact details.
These 3 tips are a great way to approach the event in a different manner, try them out at the next event you attend:
This is one that many people seem to forget as soon as they get through the door so be different and embrace it.
If it’s your first ever networking event let that be your opening line to anyone you meet, it allows for honesty and walls to be dropped as they give you words of encouragement or advice you can then keep the conversation going.
If you are honest then people are much more likely to start building the trust there and then which is one of the ultimate goals of any event.
Become the problem solver
Instead of attending an event just to focus on your needs and requirements you should consider becoming a problem solver for others.
In conversation most attendees tend to bring up small problems that they seem to have an issue solving so this is where you can be brilliant and offer constructive advice – not only will you not be pitching your idea but you will also be solving someone else’s problems.
Curiosity will soon take over and everyone that you help will want to keep in touch but check out your company, personal profile etc just to see what you are capable of.
At any event you are going to attend you should always try and get your hands on a list of attendees, even if it’s just a company list.
This allows you to do your homework, put together a list of targets and then prepare your time effectively. One of the main problems with any event is that you tend to spend time searching and not knowing if you are speaking to the ‘right’ people.
This saves time but gives you a chance to get together an idea of an effective approach you can have.
These lists should be treated like a client list – do your homework, cherry pick your data.
Few can network well; those who can tend to follow these rules:
Expecting others to care: At these business networking events people like to discuss their needs and wants for potentially successful business partnerships.
This is when you tune in and listen, try to solve the issues with a great product/service/idea allowing you to build on a great relationship.
However don’t expect people to care about your issues first as sympathy can’t really fix these underlying problems within your business. Listening skills are essential and if you have issues that need solving you will have to take the time out to understand everyone else first.
Giving but never taking: These events are solely about trying to generate a sale, a referral or a contact but these are needs which the majority of people share. Avoid asking or taking from the attendees but instead become the person that gives your attention, advice, contacts etc.
If you do this then people will love you for helping them so greatly and chances are they are going to be back at a later date searching for your wisdom which could be turned into a lead/client.
It’s best to attend these events with the anticipation you won’t get your problems solved or event be able to mention them.
Leave the confetti: Networking events would be nothing without business cards; these are the standard for business networking events so they are always expected. However choosing the right approach for giving out business cards can give you the advantage in the future with the contacts you build.
With effective homework and cherry picked data you can establish who you want to give your card too and who you want to build your contacts with. Meaningful contacts won’t come in their hundreds instead they will come in batches of 10 – 20 contacts.
Spraying your business cards all over the place is like leaflet distribution – people take them but generally dump them straight in the bin as they don’t need anything from you.
Going for the top: Trying to reach out to Richard Branson, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates is probably going to be very hard and not to mention pointless – do you really have something of mutual benefit for them?
The most effective reach out or contacts are the ones that need your help or can see massive benefit from it. The ‘status’ of who you connect with is only for show but you want to help as many people as possible.
Once you start helping everyone it’ll make it a lot easier to connect with these big names but you’ll begin to realise that being mutually beneficial is worth more.
Tools create connections: Social media is great for building connections, but like your automated approach, your connections are probably not taking much time to read your updates or even take notice of what you are doing.
Using these tools is a must in today’s age but ensuring your take the time to use them effectively turns the process into treating it like a real life networking event.
Offer great advice, tools and services via these channels and you’ll be a hit – listen and answer the problems of your audience.
Getting Over Your Fears of Networking
The unknown scares many people; they find going to new places with people they do not know an awkward and scary experience. It really doesn’t have to be like this and in fact introverts can be the most successful of networkers.
Follow these tips to get over your fears:
Get comfortable: Groups of people are one of the biggest fears for anyone that tries to network. To combat this fear just network one-on-one with someone at an event. Finding someone who are by themselves is easy, just approach them and look to get the conversation going.
If you’re comfortable you show it, making the whole conversation less awkward and probably leaving with a new contact.
Leverage: If you are an introvert or have a fear of big crowds then chances are you’ll be a good listener, as long as you’re paying attention and listening you’ll be considered a great connection.
This also allows you to piece together their issues and problems with a solution which you can offer at a later date – by simply telling them that you can probably think of a solution for them you’ll have an easy method of getting their contact details.
Environment: Learning about the individual(s) will give you a head start in understanding their company and their potential needs. You already know them, so to speak, so kicking up a conversation will also be a lot easier.
Mentioning some details about their company is always a great way to let them begin the talking about themselves and their needs – allowing you to optimise your best asset; listening.
Standing Out at an Event
Seek Out – You won’t be the only one that is not up to par with the regular networking attendees so look out for anyone else that is there who seems to be alone and sticking to the side lines.
Approach them and make small talk that puts them at ease, and then build on the conversation, as time passes by you will probably even begin to attract even more people over to your conversation.
Genuine – Many people like to put on a show when surrounded by big groups of people, the businessman shouting about his big money deal springs to mind, but you are more likely to attract the right kind of people and attention if you stick to being you.
Everyone loves a genuine person; the same can’t be said for the big shot beside you.
Meet everyone – Spend as much time as possible moving around and meeting everyone, this is part of getting over the fear or shyness.
The more people you speak to and give of some sort of confidence then the more likely they are to listen and take noticed of you.
You can also find the people you want to keep in contact with and those you don’t, catching the right people as they leave the door to get contact details is vital.
Don’t Sell – Sales 101: Listen, don’t talk. This is true for networking too, the cheesy sales people will come over and try to sell you everything in their coat pockets but you soon find these people out.
Don’t be that person; because chances are you get banned from attending future events but most importantly you give a very bad image for you and your company.
Nerves will make you say and do things, compose and talk away but listen to what everyone has to say about themselves.
10 Extremely Simple Opening Lines
- What do you do for fun?
- What are your hobbies?
- What do you do to relax?
- What do you do other than work?
- What can I do to help you?
-How do you think my skills could assist you?
- What type of projects are you thinking about?
- I’d like to meet again for some advice.
- We should talk again later so I can get some feedback.
- I’d like to hear more of what you have to say.
Everything in this ebook can be practiced and worked on over time, if done correctly business networking can be one of the best lead generators and contact builders so it’s essential you treat it as an art form rather than a business chore.
Respect the power of networking and you will soon realise that you’ve been missing out.
By: John Perrin