What feeling do you experience when you hear the word, networking? Is it an excitement or do you get sick to your stomach?
Some people hear the word networking and they shudder like it’s the world’s worst thing to do or experience.
Personally, I LOVE networking, that’s why I started Fayetteville Divas. I seriously love people, love hearing their stories, love getting to know them, and I wanted to bring a different element to the world of networking. So, I brought the non-profit world in and also highlight women in the community that do something, not just the ones that are focused on selling something to someone to make a quick buck. It’s a beautiful mix of positive energy, and it’s pretty hot, because we continuously have 25-60 fabulous females show up at each event. It is SO exciting!! If you haven’t been to one of our events yet, we can’t wait to meet you and your business at the next 3rd Thursday! *Check the Facebook page for event updates!
Anyways, we’re going to go over some tips to help you network better, especially for the ones that hate it, or have hated it in the past.
Let’s be honest, it is essential to the life of your business to network. That doesn’t mean attend every networking event, although you can, but you’re probably going to have so many contacts, and what you really want are connections. REAL connections fuel your business, that means reach out to people and get to know them a little better. I’m not saying be their best friend before reaching out to help them or do business with them, but I am saying don’t pounce on them. You may hear how you can help them in that initial conversation, so a simple, “Hey, we should get together for coffee sometime!” would be just perfect for that conversation.
Networking isn’t only done at an event. Networking is going to the grocery store and chatting with someone that might have six loaves of bread on the bottom of their buggy. (Yes, I’ve totally done that!) What I want you to understand is, networking is so much more than attending Fayetteville Divas or any networking event. My goal is to help create a movement of powerful entrepreneurs that want to enrich lives, not just sell products or services. Businesses will grow as relationships are built.
Think about it. Your “net” is cast out to anyone in about 3 feet of you, then you reach out to grow your “work”. Hence, net-work. Make sense?
Now, if you are so focused on selling something to someone, or getting them as your client, you’re still going to need an element of connection, big or small. Why? Because people do business with who they know, like and trust. Think about it. If you take the time to build even a small connection with someone, they’re going to remember how you made them feel, and then they will make a decision if they want to do business with you or not. They could potentially be a referral source to you and your business, or direct business connection, that will generate income for you. Get what I mean?
People can FEEL an energy about you, and if you are out to solely “get people”, they aren’t going to be receptive to you or what you could potentially offer them, all because of that initial approach.
I have some serious pet peeves when it comes to networking, so I’m going to share these with you now. These are things I do NOT want happening in our group, and the people that do them usually end up not coming back, and as sad as I am to see them go, I hope they can read this and learn how to network better, to be able to grow their life and business to HUGE levels of success!
1. Stop handing out sales aids at events.
You are wasting valuable resources. Send those to your current customer list. Your main intention for networking should be going out and meeting people to see if you can meet their need. I absolutely can’t stand it when someone just hands me something, unless I ask for it, without trying to get to know me. Don’t sell me something at an event, I want to know YOU, and see if I want to do business with you as a person. Let me tell you a secret, if you hand me something with no small talk, and then walk away, it will go in the trash. Now, isn’t that a waste of your time and money??
2. Stop talking about yourself.
A conversation is give and take, and sometimes it is appropriate for you to talk about yourself, if they’ve asked a question. After you’ve spoken, do the right thing and ask them a question in return. Think of it as a dance. It can be a beautiful thing, and you never know where it may lead.
3. Stop assuming everyone is going to want to do business with you.
We are all different beings. We have different opinions, competing businesses, whatever the case may be. You do not need to hand out your business card to every single person there. Instead, make it a point to speak with people who look like they could be your potential client, and create that connection before handing out your business card. You’ll be so glad you did.
Point is, you are running your business with intentions of it lasting a lifetime, right? So, every step matters. Focus on the end goal, and then make meaningful connections along the way. You never know who might refer someone to you just because you didn’t “pounce” on them at your initial meeting.
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed this little
rant article. Hop on over to my Facebook page and tell me how your next event goes after using these tips! I can’t wait to chat with you!!
To YOUR Success!!