By Gail Stolzenburg
Why are some peoople more successful using business networking than others? Maybe it is because they have eliminated blunders and eveloped common sense practices. There are many networking blunders and we can only cover a few, so stories about the types of people we’ve met at networking events might serve as good examples.
Whenever you meet this type of person at a networking event, they always seem to make the conversation about themself and they only reach out when they need something. If they would just spend more time listening, maybe you would help them without them even asking. They also are the type that when you do help them, they don’t act appreciative or even say thank you. They need to develop an attitude of gratitude. Another practice that would benefit them is developing an attitude of giving back, also known as the law of reciprocity philosophy. The more one gives to others, the more they are likely to receive in return.
Have you ever met someone at an event who then asks to get together and talk more over a cup of coffee? When you do get together, the first thing they ask you is what you do. With all of the tools available, such as Google, couldn’t they have found this information ahead of time and then asked more pertinent questions? Before attending an event, do you take the time to find out who is going to be a guest there and determine in advance who you’d like to meet? Always have an agenda.
Do you have a friend who attends every networking event, especially ones where there is complimentary food. However, these events always have the same group of people who are looking for work or referrals yet she complains about never getting any work or referrals from them. One of the keys to networking effectively is to attend events which are attended by your target market, the people with whom you can do business. Your time is valuable, so be selective. Also, consider attending events where you could be the guest speaker.
Do people you meet seem distracted, always looking over your shoulder for other people and paying little attention to what you are saying? Is it somethinig you said? When you ask people questions, rather than trying to sell them about you or your company, they will stay more engaged and you can uncover opportunites to provide solutions. Asking about their problems or challenges is always beneficial.
Have you ever met someone who immediately asked for business? It is disrespectful, impolite, and ineffective. Networking is about farming rather than hunting. You are connecting and cultivating relationships. It is a personal growth activity rather than a transaction.
Social media is an important part of networking. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. So, people want to know who you are. Some people only post advertisements for their business rather than sharing information and eventually their sites are ignored.
Do you have friends who use you? They find out who you know that could be their prospects then contact those people using your name as an introduction? Dropping names of friends without their permission will undermine a friendship. On the other hand, a personal referral is one of the most powerful assets you can have in networking. It increases the success rate to about 80%.
People who fail to follow up may be committing the most serious blunder of all. They follow the grip and grin, meet and move strategy – collecting business cards without arranging for contacting them shortly after the event at a agreed upon time and place. Also, giving them a gift is powerful such as a referral, a resource, the name of a book that would be informative, or a link to information they could use. Following up is more than a one time action. If it has been more than six months since you have contacted a customer, you are invisible. Create a follow-up system and use it.
Remember, the law of reciprocity: “You can get anything you want in this life by helping others get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar.
Gail “The Connector” Stolzenburg’s new book, “CONNECTIONS: Contacts to Clients” was just released. For more information, Gail can be contacted by phone at 281-493-1955, by email at [email protected], or visit his website at www.GailStolzenburg.com.