🤔 Do you network?
👍 Would you like to avoid common networking mistakes and gain more opportunities whilst networking?
👇 Keep reading to find out the dos and don’ts of networking.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I made when I started networking. Others can sniff the non-authentic you a mile off. People warm to others when they are genuine, so stop trying to be something you’re not (even if you think that is a better, cooler version of you).
Your #1 unique selling point is…you! I recently watched an incredible talk about conventions by Doug Kessler at B2B Marketing Ignite. The whole talk was centred around ‘conventions’ (a way in which something is usually done) and why we should break them!
Just because people act in a certain way and do certain things whilst networking, that doesn’t mean you should do the same. If you’re quirky, be quirky. If you’re opinionated, be opinionated. If you’re excitable, be excitable. Whatever you really are, be one of those.
There’s only one thing worse than being ‘over salesy’ whilst networking, and that’s someone who is an ‘in the closet’ over salesy networker.
I know it sounds stupid to say this, but you shouldn’t go networking with the prime objective to sell your products/ services to others. Again, people can sniff it a mile off and it will damage your chances of gaining them as a customer in the future. First impressions mean everything.
Next time you go networking, try going with the mindset that you want to make friends. I know any sales people reading this will probably think it’s stupid, but let me explain.
We all know people do business with people they like. There’s no better way to get someone to like you than to try and find some mutual interests etc. If you focus more of your efforts on building that initial relationship and ‘making friends’, then the salesy stuff will be much easier to convert down the line.
Keeping on the ‘making friends’ theme, here’s how not to make friends, by being self-centred. We’ve all met one of them. The people that use, ‘my, me, mine, I’ more than any other words.
How do you feel about these people when you meet them? Exactly, please don’t become one.
People love to speak about themselves. They also love other people who prompt them to speak about themselves. Be one of those people!
One added point, you need to be genuinely interested in finding out the answers to the questions you’re asking. If you’re reading the questions off a notepad and then not listening to the answers, it’s pretty obvious you don’t care.
I admit it, I made this mistake when starting out. I’d gone to a few events, networking breakfasts etc. and I hadn’t had any leads, not even a bite! I couldn’t believe it!
I soon realised that people don’t instantly become customers after meeting you once (no matter how charming you are). Be patient!
Go to as many industry events, networking events, meet ups etc. as possible. People will want to meet you at least 4 times before they even consider becoming a customer.
The more you go to, the quicker you’ll build relationships and the sooner you’ll gain leads and sales.
When I started networking, I thought the #1 priority was to prove my credibility. I literally made notes before any networking meeting to prove how brilliant I was.
That’s probably why I had no leads when starting out. Yes, people want to ensure you are credible before doing business with you, but they don’t want it rammed down their throat. Let them discover it for themselves.
I’d recommend waiting until someone asks a question which tees you up for some brief credibility spiel.
Networking person ‘So have you been in business for long?’
You ‘Well, we actually only launched last month but I’ve been in the industry for X years and have just passed our [accreditation]’
BIG no go, unless the other person has shown genuine interest in wanting to do business with you after you met them for the first time (which is unlikely).
Whenever I’ve received an unsolicited sales email from someone I’ve met for the first time, I instantly think they’re a bit of a douche. They’d have to do something really special to convert me into a customer.
What will really make you stand out (in a positive way) after meeting others whilst networking, is to send a genuine ‘it was great to meet you’ email and connect with them on social media.
Go one step further by reading up about their interests on social media and commenting on a mutual interest you have. This will help build the initial relationship.
Now it’s over to you. Get out there and start networking effectively to gain more opportunities for your business.
Share your number #1 networking tip in the comments below.