I want to thank everyone who came out to the Workshop yesterday. I hope they all got great information and met some other excellent business folks here in Sonoma County. My next event is likely to be in January – so look for information on that soon. Also, shortly we will be back to Earnings Season for Q3. I will be interested in hearing the progress from our local companies.
I am getting ready to go to a BNI mixer and I was thinking about what I would do there. Mixers like that are great Networking Events that can help you meet new potential clients and partners. But to me, they are netWORKing not Networking. That may not be true for everyone, but if it is there are some simple things that you can do to help yourself.
First and most important is showing up and as Woody Allen said, “90% of Success in Life is just showing up.” But with Networking there is a twist to that. In most cases, these events are periodic. They happen weekly, monthly or quarterly. If you show up just once, your chances of getting business is pretty low. The best thing that you can do is be a regular attendee of these events. People get to know you and feel more comfortable. You build trust and trust is the start of most business relationships.
Second, is talking to people you don’t know. Now it is fine to connect with friends and colleagues. But if you want to grow, then you need to meet new people. I know this can be scary for a lot of folks. But you can keep a couple of things in mind. Everybody is there to meet and talk to others. They want you to meet them. That is why they are there! But it can be hard to break the ice. So if you are not great at introducing yourself, then ask the other person about themselves. Most people love to talk about themselves, their businesses and their passion. If you give them the chance, they will fill the air until you feel comfortable.
Third, get some contact information from them. If you are going to do business, then you need to get a hold of them. This means you want their Business Card. And you need to be ready to give them yours. Bring plenty! This is not a time to be stingy. The more you give out (even to people that are not likely to be clients) the more likely you will earn Business.
Fourth, have an elevator pitch. You need to be able to explain what you do quickly and concisely. Try to do so in 30 seconds or less. If you can, then you will be able to help people understand what you do. But don’t forget, you have a Unique Value Proposition. You need to be different than your competitors and be able to explain it to those you meet.
Fifth (and Finally), you need a follow up plan. I have one for every event and everybody I meet today can expect to get an email from me at the very least. Don’t expect others to reach out. You need to reach out to them. Back to showing up right? Not everyone will follow up with you, but some will. That allows you to build that relationship to the next stage.
Have a great day!
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