Networking

Why appearing so busy isn’t attractive

Why appearing so busy isn’t attractive

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You’ve probably heard this more than once and perhaps even said it yourself.

It flows from the tongue almost as much as talk of the weather or where you came from when making small talk at a networking event.

Yet if there is one thing I find off-putting and would recommend people didn’t say to new or existing contacts is telling all and sundry how incredibly busy they are.

It’s not quite as bad as launching into a full-on sales pitch but it could still be detrimental to your networking prospects.

I know many people may well be busy – in work, in life or whatever – and they intend for it to be a positive statement in that they are so successful that they have so much work on the go.

However when I hear someone tell me that it makes me think they must be too busy to take on any more work so they are obviously not interested in receiving any more referrals or hearing from any of my contacts who I think may be of benefit to them and their business.

Either that or they are disorganised and inefficient.

So whilst it is tempting to say it I would suggest you don’t tell everyone how busy you are and if asked if you are busy respond by saying you are pretty busy but can handle more business.

Conversely if you have absolutely no business volumes to speak of don’t mention that either!

People like to deal with and be associated with successful and productive companies so the best advice is to find the middle ground.

Maybe I am on my on here so let me know if you agree or not either here or on Twitter.

Now I’ll leave it there as I am so…well, let’s just say I have other things to do!

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Networking, Uncategorized

Preparing for Your Networking Event

Many people receive invitation to a networking event and promptly confirm their place, put it in their diary and then turn up on the day.

Yet having made a conscious decision to go out and network, they don’t give that networking opportunity any further thought until they are walking through the doors, usually ten minutes after the meeting start time.

And herein lies the problem with so many networkers today.

Whilst on occasion they might stumble into the one person who could help them most, usually by not having a networking plan, it will end up being a waste of the well-intentioned networker’s time.

So firstly make sure before you set off on the day you have two pens (one to use and a spare) and enough business cards to give out should anyone ask you for one.

Ahead of the event it would be useful to study the delegate list. If one isn’t automatically made available (some on-line registrations allow you to see who else is registered from your social media profiles) ask the organiser who might be happy to share it.

Chances are there will only be a few really useful contacts at any particular event so if you can establish who is attending, highlight those people and make it your priority to meet them.

If there is no delegate list it is even more important to arrive early. Arriving early for a networking meeting has two benefits; firstly you can meet the organisers and ask them to introduce you to the previously-identified priority attendees. It’s in their interests to make this happen as if you make some really useful contacts at one of their events you are more likely to recommend their events and return to future ones.

Secondly you can offer to help the organisers in setting up (they will be even more likely to help you meet your top targets now!) and even act as an unofficial host yourself. It’s far easier to meet and greet people as the host than just another visitor.

Most people are not naturally comfortable walking into a room of strangers so by welcoming them and offering to help them they will be grateful to you and you will find your targets quicker and easier.

Factors such as the type of business you are representing, the size and type of event and the number of delegates, will all determine how many useful contacts you can expect to meet. But remember you should not go expecting to sell; most people do turn up looking to promote themselves, sell their services (I have even had a full laptop presentation thrust on me when asking a fellow delegate about his business) so be prepared to be more interested than interesting.

Your agenda should be about meeting those top-target contacts and simply engaging in conversation with a view to setting up a meeting at a later date.

So make sure you are prepared for each and every networking event you plan on attending.

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Networking, Personal Development, Uncategorized

What is Business Networking

Some people are naturally good at meeting people and engaging in conversation.

They can quite quickly establish what the other person does for a living and who their target clients are – and perhaps just as importantly ensure the other person knows the same about them.

Such people find it easy to do this whether in the dentist waiting room, in the queue at the supermarket or in their children’s school playground.

This may be social networking but plenty of business deals and relationships start from such social encounters.

However for many people it is uncomfortable, daunting and even scary to talk to people (after all we are brought up being advised not to talk to strangers) despite them knowing it is necessary to develop new contacts.

In simple term business networking is about leveraging your relationships with business and personal contacts to refer their connections to you on a regular basis.

So networking involves farming; establishing new and nurturing existing relationships to increase your business.

It’s not just about meeting new people and it’s certainly not a case of attending events just because they are advertised as networking events – chances are you’ve been to these and come back having given out a few business cards and collected several more (watch out for the spam emails that will undoubtedly follow!)

Networking also has several other benefits but more of them another time.

Business networking is a pro-active exercise that should a fixed part of your business or marketing plan.

In fact, whether you already incorporate networking into your current role or are planning to do so, you should have a specific networking plan with clearly defined goals.

Anyone else have any other definitions of business networking?

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Networking, Sales

Act Like Your Toddler

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When was the last time you held off making a phone call to a potential client or customer?

Even if that person had been referred to you and was expecting your call, have you ever deliberated and ended up putting it off or not calling at all?

It’s seemingly human nature to be fearful of rejection, of hearing the word “no” or of being told the client/customer does not want or need your product or service.

However for the first few years of life we are told “no” countless times without us ever feeling hurt or rejected.

This will resonate with parents of toddlers but anyone who has ever seen a young child make their case to a parent or grandparent will appreciate how determined that youngster can be.

Children will relentlessly ask for a chocolate treat, their favourite teddy or doll, their TV programme or whatever it is they want right there, right then.

I want chocolate!

Well-intentioned parents and guardians will start off firmly declining that request until their objective has been achieved, whether it is getting the child to eat their meal or tidy their toys or even just to prevent the toddler from getting his or her own way.

Yet the pleading carries on.

Pppplleeeeaaaasssse!

No! No! No! Don’t ask me again because my decision is final

But I want chocolate – NOW!

and back and forth it goes; on and on and on – and on.

Eventually the parent gives in if only for a little bit of peace and quiet.

The satisfied child has succeeded despite being told in no uncertain terms he or she would not win, despite being told “no” more times than he or she can count.

The point is the toddler is not insulted, offended or put off by a rebuttal knowing he/she is getting closer to that yes.

I am not saying to hound your prospects with the same tenacity as a toddler in a tantrum but the next time you have to make that call to a potential client or customer ask yourself what is the worst thing they could say to you and if it’s a no (which might just be a “no for now”) will that really upset you that much?

Let me know if you have ever come off the phone after a sales call and been truly hurt? And please share with us how you deal with making those calls.

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Networking

Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time at Networking

So you’ve joined a networking organisation, now what?

Chances are you’ve paid £500-£700 for a year’s membership, committed to attending every meeting and really make networking your main system of building your business.

Here’s my top ten tips on how to waste your time and money and be a complete networking failure:-

  1. Don’t turn up (after all you’ve got a whole year of meetings so what difference if you miss the odd one, right?)
  2. Arrive late (by all means say sorry and appear genuine but why bother to network with the members and their visitors; remember to make it clear you don’t value everyone else’s time)
  3. Don’t bother preparing your 60 second presentation (just “wing it” and hope for the best)
  4. Don’t listen to everyone else’s 60 second presentation (use that time to think of any referrals you want to give, check your phone for emails and messages)
  5. Focus on selling your services to everyone in the room
  6. Never follow up on a referral quickly – they know where you are if they want you
  7. Don’t invite visitors to your networking meeting (there’s plenty of other people who are better at it anyway)
  8. Don’t have 1-2-1s with fellow members; you can learn all you need to know about them when they do their 60 seconds. If you really can’t avoid having one, use that time to complain about how no one gives you any referrals)
  9. If you get the opportunity of doing an extended 10-minute presentation, use it to really go into every minute detail of how your business works, not forgetting to include when the company was established, which towns or cities you have offices in.
  10. Ensure you air all your grievances amongst the members and visitors

Here a special bonus tip to really alienate you from your fellow members:-

11.  Add everyone to your mailing list without asking them and keep on sending them as much irrelevant information as you can!

Anyone else have any top tips to share?

 

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