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Netting Success Through Successful Networking in 3 Easy Steps

By on July 23, 2014
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When I first opened my practice I was certain that once I had a website, and gave my business card to a few people, my business would be flooded with warm leads. I can still remember my very first networking event. I was decked out in my highest heels, business cards in hand as I climbed the steps into a dark second floor bar in Philadelphia. I was ready to let the world know what I had to offer. Then reality set in. I was one of two hundred people, all trying to get their message out. I very quickly realized I had no clue how to take advantage of this networking opportunity.

It’s been several years since that moment and over that time I have learned how to leverage business connections. Networking events and groups can be a powerful way to bring new clients in your front door, as well as open up new opportunities in the corporate world, once you know how to throw out your net wisely.

Here are some easy tips to help boost your networking power. The key to making them work is to try them out, I guarantee they will make the difference for you.

1) Listen

The natural tendency of many networkers is to rush to get their message out. If you have been to a networking event you may have noticed that it can feel like walking around a room filled giant billboards all flashing their service-signs. Stand out from the crowd by becoming intensely curious about the people you meet. Listen first for their needs. Ask questions about their business, and feel and show a real interest in them. Most networkers are quick to get their message out and are pleasantly surprised when you show interest in them. This will interrupt their usual networking behavior pattern, and immediately build rapport. The other benefit is that when the time is right for you to describe your services, you can individualize your description specifically to their needs.

2) Lead

The moment will come in the conversation where you will want to present what you do. After having listened to your prospect you will have ample information to customize your message. While we won’t go into explicit details here, one thing to keep in mind as you do this is to create a moment of amazement for your prospect. This is where you give them an actual, brief, experience of your skill set. This could be anything from a metaphor about neuroscience, to pointing out their time line, or sensory preference. Depending on the prospect and the environment you could even do some fun suggestibility games. This is the moment where they realize that there is something unique about you and your skills.

3) Look to the Future

There is no need to close a deal at the networking event. In fact, a direct call to action could kill the relationship. Instead you want to plant the seeds of a future business relationship.

This moment is all about taking the next smallest step forward. You can thank the prospect and suggest meeting again for further discussion, perhaps over a coffee. Assuming they agree to the next step then within 24 hours of the networking event initiate the next step by sending a friendly email and suggesting a time for a future meeting.

In this next meeting you may close a deal, or it may open the door for the next smallest step. This is especially the case if you want to get into the corporate training arena. Coffee may lead to meeting with the lead’s supervisor, which in turns leads to a free taster hour, and finally leading to a contract.

Be patient throughout the networking process, it will pay off. Don’t think only in terms of an immediate sale, but rather in building a long term relationship. Your job is to build a relationship that is mutually beneficial, over a long period of time.

Networking in this way takes the pressure off you to sell in the event. It is really your opportunity to turn prospects into clients by building friendships.

 

By Jess Marion

(H)NLP Trainer, Hypnosis Trainer, Coach, Consulting Hypnotist and Author  

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