Let’s make believe that you are at a networking function and you’ve made that all important first contact. You want to get help from this individual but you know that you need to start working on building a relationship with them first. How do you do that?
The most difficult thing for individuals to understand about networking functions is that very little real business gets done at these functions. If you go into the function not expecting to get business, but to make contacts, you will have a far greater success rate. When your approach is one that is obviously intended to drain your current contact of all of their contacts, you will be met with opposition.
You need to draw the attention away from yourself and onto the business prospect you are talking with. I have found that a great response when asked to introduce myself is to state my name, and follow-up with, “ I am here to see how I can best be able to refer some business to you.”
You read this correctly. I don’t make any attempt to talk about what I do.
The conversation should center around them. What they do and how they do it, how they got their start, anything about THEM.
The goal is to find a reason for following up. You want a one on one with them after the initial meeting.
A suggestion. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing notes on the back of their business cards about things they brought up when they told me about themselves. This greatly helped me when I followed up.
There were times, before I revisited with them, that I read something about their son or daughter in the newspapers. I could have been that their son was mentioned in the newspaper about a football game.
You get the idea.
It doesn’t matter what prompts the follow up as long as it Personally matters to the prospect, about their work or their family. It proves that you were listening and that you are willing to give before you receive.
It also sets you apart from all the people who are at these functions trying to push their own business.
I attend many functions and never mention to anyone anything about what I do. I spend the whole time listening and writing. I understand I am not going to close any sales at that time.
These are people who don’t really know me. But before I leave, I know a lot more about them.
If indeed someone does ask you what you do, just mention the elevator pitch I gave you if we’ve talked on the phone. If you need to create one, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange a phone call and I’ll help you create one that has a WOW affect.
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