Work it! 3 Goals for NetWORKing Face to Face
In most industries, there are critical opportunities to network face to face. These opportunities come in many forms from trade shows and conventions, to standing in line at the grocery store. A successful networker considers many of their interactions to be a chance to make a connection. After all, that old lady behind you at Publix may not need your services, but her son, the multimillion dollar business owner may hear about how she met this wonder person who could help him with (insert your service here).
With any form of work, networking takes time, energy, and knowledge. A master networker may even develop skills in reading body language to help him assess the tone of his conversations and react accordingly, or use that knowledge to present themselves to a room with the highest amount of confidence (not cockiness) that gets the much needed attention. Also like any form of work, networking requires goals, a plan, and diligence. Simply attending events will not produce the desired results or justify the time and effort that could be seen as Opportunity Cost. This blog will provide 3 goals to set on route to becoming a networking superstar.
- You are your business, Your business is you – Work your business into conversation as much as possible, without driving people crazy. Those who do not know what you do, tell them. Those who know what you do well, tell them the improvements you have been making. When someone asks how you are doing, let them know about yourself, your family, and your business. Sometimes this involves faking it until you make it, that is ok. Telling someone your business is very busy may mean that you are busy marketing your business, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are tending to clients because you are so high in demand.
- Give out your cards intentionally – This goal is easy to accomplish in group settings and at events. Think about the room you will be entering and plan how many cards you want to give away (cards in bowls for drawings do not count!). If you are going to a room where you expect 150 people, it is reasonable to set a goal of giving away 15 cards even if you think you will know most of the people in the room. Cards cost money, once you have the cards, you have spent the money and the value of that dollar depends on how you will utilize your cards.
- Focus on building a relationship, not selling – When everything is said and done, most people will do business with people they like or those who support them on some level. Much of life is reciprocal in the business world. Another universal truth is that people do not like being sold to, isn’t that how the used car salesman got his bad rep, so many people in that position are hard sellers. The hard sale is dead. People want information, they want to know how something is going to benefit them, that can be your services in general or the working relationship you build with that person. How happy are we when we get referrals from people. Not only are they telling us they care about our success but also that they trust enough to put their name behind what we are offering. Would we ever send referrals to people we do not trust and respect?
This blog is uncovering the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing yourself face to face. Of course we could have five blogs on social skills and how to present well alone. I think most of the people who read this are past that 101 level – because you read up on the subject, and develop your skills. Keep up the good work!