Hello fellow connector! It’s nice to “meet” you! I appreciate you taking the time to check out my blog, and hope that you will take away some valuable, easy to use information to help you along your journey to building quality business relationships.
As a professional salesperson, and therefore connector/networker, for over 10 years, I understand that building new relationships isn’t always easy. While it can be fun, not everyone is instinctually born with the ability to mix and mingle, while trying to grow their business. I frequently get asked to share my secrets, tips, and tricks to be a better connector, so I’ve put together a great resource to get stated:
Does this sound like you:
- You get anxious before you have to go to a networking event
- Sometimes you forget to bring the things you need to be successful
- You never quite feel comfortable in the room
- You don’t know when to make small talk, and when to talk about your business/product
- You talk to very few people and/or don’t make any lasting connections
- When you leave, you find yourself relieved, not excited about new business opportunities
You are not alone.
Tip #1 – Have an Elevator Speech
Alright, don’t tell anyone, but I’m not a big fan of the traditional elevator speech. I don’t know about you, but I can get a little stage fright if I’m expected to “perform” in front of other people. While I’m not putting on a Broadway play, trying to remember a carefully crafted, word-specific elevator speech, and deliver it flawlessly on the spot during a networking event, induces about the same level of fear. (I can only imagine, obviously, as I’ve never been on Broadway!)
But here’s the thing: you have to have one. And to be honest, if you want to feel more comfortable and successful at the networking events you attend, it better be a good one!
Here’s my trick, define the basics –
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why should they even care? (or: How can you help them?)
The first two are easy, right? They should be – if you have a loosely defined, 1 to 2 sentence, definition going into the event, it’ll be easier to share. For networking, I try not to get too bogged down on remembering a “speech” by rote. To me, having a real conversation with someone, where I can paraphrase, is more approachable anyway.
Here’s the secret – number three is the most important one to developing quality business relationships!
Think about the last time you went to a networking event. Inevitably, we all get stuck in the corner with that one person who just can’t stop talking about themselves. You ask what they do, and get a 20 minute rambling answer, so focused on themselves, you find yourself looking around the room with pleading eyes, begging for someone to save you.
By being prepared, you won’t be that person. You’ll be the person that everyone wants to talk to because you start by trying to understand and help others.
Try this –
Really think about how your product/services help other people. Think about how their lives will be better for having known you. Define what you do without saying “I” or “we,” and present a concept where they are the hero.
Once you have that in your head, come up with 2 – 3 sentences that you feel comfortable sharing, again, NOT word for word. If you know something, you can share something… without having to memorize it.
As an example, here is how I normally introduce myself at networking events (loosely!):
“Hi! I’m Anna-Vija, and I’m an outsourced sales and marketing director. With my help, clients are able to define their marketing and business development goals to achieve increased leads, opportunities, and exposure and grow their revenue. By hiring me, they are able to save time and money over bringing on a full-time employee.”
Tip #2 – Show you Care
When you meet someone, rather at an event or in a one-a -one meeting, listen. JUST listen. When you meet someone, anyone, for the first time, listen to them. Ask them about themselves or their business, put your hand over your mouth, and just listen to them.
Wait – don’t actually put your hand over your mouth. That’s awkward!
CRAZY things will happen! You will learn not only their title and company, but probably about challenges they are facing and needs that they have and where their kids go to school. Powerful information that you can then use to tell whether or not this person could be a good, quality connection for you.
And I promise, they will then ask you about yourself, and listen back. Just be sure you use your newly discovered information to speak to them personally, human to human, and without trying to sell them something right then and there.
Listening is the first step to determining a quality connection vs. a passing business card that will sit on your desk for 10 months before being thrown away.
(Tip: I recommend cleaning up those cards more easily HERE.)
Get more “simple steps” AND a free checklist…
PO Box 160103
Nashville, TN 37216
PO Box 160103
Nashville, TN 37216