Let’s start off with some of Helen’s tips that she mentions in her book “Networking: The Unwritten Rule of Business you need to know.”
Follow Through – Helen writes “It is estimated that 3% of people follow up after meeting new people.”
The 97% that don’t follow up must all belong, well in part anyway, to the “Reluctant Entrepreneur” foundation that I was talking about in previous postings.
Yip, right people – everyone is just blown away by your product/widget/service that you are peddling at whichever networking event that you are at and they are going to do each other harm, in the rush to get to your door to do business with you! I guess some people just live in a perpetual dream world!
YOU have to make it work! Take the person’s business card, tell them that you are going to connect with them and then . . . wait for it . . . . yes, that’s right, you actually do phone them! What a novel idea!
In fact what you should be doing is sending them a mail with your Business Profile on it and in the e-mail, reiterate that you will be contacting them in the near future and then actually contact them.
The reason that you are contacting them is to set up an appointment for a “one-on-one” meeting. Yes, I know that having these meetings can become tedious and time-consuming, but this is the way to do it. Set up the meeting and actually pitch up. In my opinion, people who do not pitch up for meetings, or phone and cancel are disrespectful to me. Not only are they disrespectful, but their behaviour also tells me who they are, in one word – unreliable!
The reason you are having a “one-on-one” meeting is to find out more about what they do. Your first question should be along the lines of “Tell me more about yourself and your business – I need to understand more about what you do in order to help you with people in my database who may need your assistance/widget/services.”
Starting your meeting in this manner, does two things: 1) It gives the other person the opportunity for them to talk (and you to listen… carefully) and 2) They will then feel obliged to ask you what it is that you do and then try to assist you. Human nature and a person’s sub-conscience will make them feel the need to reciprocate in some way.
Listen carefully to what they are saying about what it is that they do/sell etc and ask questions about the widgets/services until you have a basic idea (you don’t have to understand it 100% – remember you don’t have to know how to build a car in order to drive one).
Think about the people you have in your database/network and see if you can introduce them to the people with who they may have synergies and/or who may have need of their widgets/services. Help them make the connection.
I will continue this saga next time, with your approach and attitude towards Networking.