In the training session I gave yesterday I had a group of customer relationship managers that will now start taking a sales role, including prospecting.
Part of their new business life is Networking! These were the fears shared:
“What if I am perceived as an invader in a group?”
“I am so young and the thought of talking to professional business people in the forties, fifties is very intimidating”
“Once I am in a group how do I leave without being perceived as “working the room”?”
We agreed to look at networking as a game with some rules, here is a recap:
1) Think of “what value can I add to whom?” Networking is about building relationships, not selling! Think “what would make it worth their time to speak with me?”
2) Is being part of the panel or being one of the keynote speakers an option?
3) Before heading to a network event, ask for a list of attendees. Prepare who you would like to meet. Aim to meet a few people and make a good connection
4) Look up the companies attending and read their latest news, trends to prepare a topic for engaging a conversation
5) Check social media, the linked-in profile to find points of affiliation, such as clients, contacts, interests in common to engage in something the person is passionate about
6) Prepare your introduction, rather than saying what you do, talk of the value you bring.
Example: “I insure sales teams are successful” versus “I am a sales performance consultant”
7) Show up early; people won’t have settled into groups yet
8) Ask easy questions such as: “What brings you to the event?”
9) Stand close to the catering or the bar to meet most people
10) Wear something bright to get noticed
11) A company pin or badge ribbon of your organisation can help others introduce and engage with you
12) Wear your badge at shoulder height so it is easy to read
13) Look out for people standing from a 45 degree angle; they are looking to engage others
14) Angle yourself to 45 degrees. Never stand front-on with a male you have just met. He perceives it as an aggression from a man and sexual interest from a woman.
15) Receiving tight lipped smiles? It is a sign to leave!
16) End the conversation gracefully, tell them it was a pleasure meeting them and share how you will follow-up whilst keeping eye contact.
After each network event:
- Follow-up by an email, a linked-in invite and refer to the conversation you had, it is proper etiquette.
- Evaluate what went well and if the event had the audience you are looking to connect with (to help you be selective of the events you go to!)
Sharing is networking, so please do share any tips you have for becoming a more effective networker!
If in Belgium feel free to join our Minds&More Mingle Mondays. These are learn and network events for people interested in marketing and sales performance.
Register here: Minds&More networking events