Every time I turn around lately I’ve got people asking me for networking success hints. I wasn’t aware that I’d made myself into such a networking queen (alright, so queen might be a bit strong…goddess? ;)), but as that seems to be the general consensus, I’ll share my tips!
Have a goal. These sound like two separate pieces of the puzzle but they really go hand in hand. The best piece of advice I ever got was to walk into the meeting with a goal to meet two people. Just two people that I could call next week and they’d remember me and love the opportunity to sit down with me to chat. So what is your goal when you walk into a networking meeting?
Have a plan. If networking is about two things: building my network and lead generation. That means I need to have a plan to turn that into actual money as well. Trust me, I do. I set up a one-to-one with the people that really jumped out at me as people that I’d like to have in my network. Inside of that sit-down (and yes, it’s one to one…not one to four! Only meet with one person at a time so you can focus on them) I can learn about their business and what they do, and tell them about mine. If there’s an opportunity for us to work together, that’s what we’ll do!
Do Not Sell. Most everyone walks into these meetings hoping to sell, very few people come to buy. Do you see the problem? So when you walk into a networking meeting, or even the one on one afterwards, keep in mind that this isn’t about selling. It’s about meeting people and IF the opportunity presents itself, you can discuss a sale. But my cardinal rule is to NEVER sell inside a networking meeting! Take them out for coffee at least!
Find your networking success!