Networking might or might not work for your business
When considering attending a networking event I ask myself…
- Will my customers be attending?
- Will people who influence my customers be attending?
- Is anyone attending that I’d really like to help?
- Is anyone attending that could, and possibly would, help me?
Find out who’s attending the networking event
Before the event check to see who’s attending. If there’s a list of attendees published online, do a bit of research. Think of ways you could help other attendees and think of ways other attendees could help you.
Look for mutually beneficial relationships
You’d like to get to know big fish with networks of followers. People listen to their recommendations.
You could land some good contracts if you can convince an influential person to promote you to their tribe. But remember, this is what everyone is hoping for. So those big fish are likely to be too busy to pay close attention to you and your little business.
When you describe your business to a potential customer, in thirty seconds, what do you say? Keep it simple and easy to understand. This is what I would say…
“I train your staff to use WordPress, so they can update your company website.“
This is enough information. I want to avoid overwhelming or confusing the listener.
They might reply “that sounds interesting”. In which case, I’d ask them about their website and how easy it is for them to get it updated. Then I’d ask them if they’d prefer a member of their own staff to do the updates for them.
If they reply “we have someone who does that cheaper and better than we could do it ourselves“. I’d ask them, “what do you do?“ And then LISTEN to their reply.
When we’ve both got all the information we need from each other I ask “who would you most like to meet at today’s event?”
As we part…
If they seemed interested in my services, I ask, “do you mind if I email you some information?“
If they give me their card I read it, then carefully place it in my pocket. If they didn’t offer a card, but I‘d like to find out more about them and their business, I would ask if I could have a card.
Then I’ll say “thanks for chatting, if I meet anyone who could be a useful contact for you, I’ll mention your name.“
Networking is about relationship building. You help me and I help you.