I'm at a Business Networking Event...What Now?
We are talking about business networking today. Over the last few years, I've shared with you kind of the two big mistakes with business networking. One is sleeping on it and not doing it; not taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity called business networking. Number two, is not having a plan when you go in there. Go in there and having a long-term strategy and recognizing that this isn't a short-term fix. This is a long-term strategy. What are we talking about today? I'm at a business networking event. What now? What do I do now? What do I do when I'm in that place? What do I do when I'm in that room? You're going to have a pitch. You're going to have something that you're going to say to people and be prepared to answer questions about your business. So what do you do? Be ready for that question. What makes you unique?
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I'm at a Business Networking Event...What Now?
I want to give you a couple of things of what to do in that room:
#1: The first thing is to connect with five people. I want to encourage you to decide that you're going to connect with five people that day. Now you should have a couple of different ways, a couple different reasons why you're going to connect with people. I went to a networking event last week and I had a couple different people I was looking for. I was looking for individuals that would be good for a group that I'm doing at my office; a training I'm doing in my office. I was looking for businesses that have 10 or more employees that I can come in and do a lunch and learn and to do a training and then sell them some further training. And then I'm also looking for people for my podcast and my YouTube interviews. At this networking event I was at last week, I met a wonderful lady named Rotunda and she is an entrepreneur with her husband. They have been entrepreneurs for many years and are starting a new business right now in a different industry. They are launching out there and were willing to take the risk. It's really exciting. I'll be interviewing her today, so I got some different audiences or different people that I'm looking for.
Not everybody's going to fit every audience. I might run into an individual private business owner. They're not going to have 10 employees, so they aren't going to fit in that funnel, so to speak, but they do fit in the individual or potential, depending on their personality; they might be a great interview. Rotunda just happened to be a fantastic interview. Wonderful personality, wonderful energy. So I asked her and she said yes, so we're doing an interview today. Have some people that you're going to scope out. I encourage you to make five connections. Don't do the shotgun effect where you're shaking hands and you're grabbing 20 cards and handing them out; doesn't work. You get their cards, you get five people's cards and have a meaningful conversation. Try to make a connection. “Hey, I know someone that works at your bank. Great. I'd love to do training there.” Or “Hey, I've been familiar with people in Mary Kay and I've worked with people in Mary Kay before.” I have some great content for a personal development, personal growth, downloads on my website or I have some small group meetings that'd be great for you. You make connections with different people at different levels. Then what you do, you leave that event, you've got five connections. You go back to your computer and you immediately send an email to each of those five people. I had a lady that really wasn't a connection. I made a connection with her. I thought there was a way we could make the business work, but it didn't make sense to her and it didn't connect the dots.
Ultimately through a couple of emails, I followed up with her. It wasn't a good fit, she just didn't fit my target audience, but she probably knows someone who does. What I did was I took the opportunity just to encourage her and speak into her life and say some things about her qualities that I've seen just in my interactions with her and encouraged her in her business. I got a friend out of that thing. I got an ally, I got a fan, and I got probably future referral business from that connection that I made. She's not going to do business with me, but she knows some people and she said, “thank you so much for all your encouragement. I think I know some people and will pass on your information.” What more can you ask for from a connection?
That's from a connection, not from handing out cards and no personal connection. You immediately email them and then immediately after you email them, you call them. You say, “Hey, I sent you an email. Just want to make sure you got it. Here's the heading of it: Leadership Training Opportunity. If it didn't pop up, it might have gone to junk, but if you would just go check really quick, make sure you got it.” Then it leaves it open for the opportunity to say, “oh yeah, I'll check. Thanks a lot. I'm busy. I'll talk to you later. Fantastic. I'll talk to you later.” Or they might say “Leadership Training. So what exactly is it that you do? Yeah, I remember talking to you. How do I get involved with that.” You can start that conversation and begin having them in your sales cycle and in your client relationship management system where you can follow up with them. I had that happen with a gal from a networking event two weeks ago; a small business owner who doesn't have a team, but is the perfect candidate for my 10 week leadership training that I'm kicking off in January.
I was just in conversation with her, sent an email, followed with a phone call, didn't get an answer, got an answering machine, followed up again. She said she hadn't read the email. I said, “I'll send it to you again.” I sent it to her again and then I asked her if she'd be interested in it a couple of days later. She said, “actually I would be interested.” She's got the link, she's ready to sign up.
That is how you work the business networking opportunities that you have and take full advantage of them. Make connections, make five connections, send five emails, make five phone calls all in the same day and you will do well with your business networking.