- Don’t try to sell. For most people it all ends tragically here. They mistakenly stroll into the industry conference or chamber of commerce meeting with the idea that they need to find someone to sell to. Don’t do it. It gives people the creeps. And it kills your real opportunity at these events–finding strategic partners.
- Give before you get. Don’t go with your hand out empty to your network. Not until you’ve made some deposits in your good will account. Build up your account first, by asking about them before talking about you.
- Be Remembered. Create a ‘Memory Hook”. This term created by BNI, the largest networking organization in the world. Introduce yourself with an interruption, a cause to make them stop and listen. When someone asks me what I do I say, “I help people STOP Selling”. They say what? Did you say stop? Now I get a few seconds to explain it. (and only a few seconds).
- Ask questions. Everyone says you need an elevator pitch to use when you meet someone at a networking event. But the way MOST people do it is, frankly boring.
It usually goes like this “Hi, I’m Bob, I’m an accountant…” or “Hi, I’m Bob with Enormicon, we specialize in scalable solutions to strategic problems by finding synergy with customers, suppliers and partners”…Yuck! If you’re doing this, you’re boring and forgettable.
Ask a few questions to get the other person talking. What do you do? How long have you done that? What do you like the most about it? If I met someone that I thought would be a good referral for you, what would that look like?
- Set goals. Never attend a networking event without deciding how many strategic partners you’re going to meet. If you’re just starting, commit to two. As you get better, increase the number. When you hit the number go home, knowing you succeeded.