Would you love to attend a networking event and have everyone leave looking for clients for you? Well in the ideal world that is what we all would love I guess but if everyone comes in with this approach who is left to actually do the looking.
There are 3 ways to achieve this, networking at your best, ask your clients to help(referrals) and/or getting someone else to cold call for you.
I work with my clients to help them find ways to achieve all this week I am talking about networking at your best.I aim to share tips and ideas of how to achieve this today and in further blogs.
1. Networking and relationship building isthe most enjoyable way to do business once you understand how it works. Someone once told me that it is important to look at networking as a long-term investment. To some degree I would agree there are people I met a year ago or even 10 years ago that have just bought from me this month, so yes it is important to know that some people say “no” when they mean, no not yet and it is worth keeping in touch with these people. I will cover this in more detail in tomorrows blog. However I believe when you network at your best you can see returns much faster. Today I would like to share with you an experience at a recent networking event.
Last week I was very lucky to be invited by Tasty Marketing (thanks to Emma and the girls) to celebrate their 3rd Birthday in the VIP lounge at the B2B Business South Exhibition.
They had a game that really does sum it all up. We were all given a piece of paper with a piece of food or drink on it and we had to find our buddy. I was lamb so I had to find among this group of people a likely match, I am quite found of roast lamb with potatoes and veg so I went on my search. We were not allowed to say directly what we were(eg what we did great tip one for networking understand before expecting to be understood)
The group gradually started to mix asking questions such as are you food or drink? What kind of food is that? (ask questions not tell another great bit of advice)
At one point I found myself saying to mash are you sure we could not go together he said no I think I am looking for bangers. (he knew who he was looking for but we exchanged the possibilities of lamb and mash and moved on. He did say “I suspect you are looking for mint sauce” well that head up certainly made it easier after a few short questions I could easily work out if the person was potentially the person I was looking for today (up to then I was quite happy looking for roast potatoes, veg, gravy or even red wine and I suspect all were possible.) We had some fun.
It was fascinating to see some people just wanted to know what I was so they could discount me and move on, how strange??(sadly this happens in real life networking too) Eventually after several interesting chats with champagne and curry (I also thought curry and lamb could do well together, but he was sure he was looking for something that complimented curry rather than something that went in it so he was strong and moved on politely I should add)
Eventually someone said I know who you are looking for it is mint sauce and he is over there. It was great as I made a bee line for Mint Sauce beaming with pride that I found my match I approached him full of Sheryl enthusiasm (yes I know for some, it is too much) Only to find that mint sauce really had gone off meeting lamb and would much rather continue his chat with his new-found friend.
So I followed good networking etiquette, I waited a little while, as he was engrossed in a conversation about what he did which was really interesting, then politely mentioned that someone had recommend we talk and we possibly could have something in common. He was much more interested in chatting to his colleague who could have been another equally suitable match so I slipped away and linked back up with champagne and some other familiar faces that were happy for lamb to compliment the meal.
The point is that someone who clearly knew what I was looking for and clearly knew what mint sauce needed independently introduced us and saved time.(someone I had never met before felt comfortable to say you need that person over there)
Sadly I think I may have approached the kind of mint sauce that goes with curry so maybe a few more questions were needed. I know that this was a game but so often this happens in real life and so so many opportunities are missed. Imagine if the mint sauce had chatted a little more I could have said ” I know curry let me introduce you”
If you would like to know more about the right kind of questions to ask so that you can be sure who they want to meet and they can be sure who you want to meet then please do check out this months Listening Post– A training programme to ensure you network at your best. This month we are covering How to find your ideal client?
I would love to know how you feel when someone talks at you about their business at a networking event. Tomorrow I will be sharing what happened next with a follow-up email
Thanks for listening.