What To Expect When You Do Networking Right (Tool To Use For Profit)

How do you make your networking profitable?

Keep your conversations at the 6 -10 minutes. This is a networking event, not a marathon. You speak with someone less than 6 minutes, and they will not remember you nor the conversation when you follow up with them, you speak with them more than 10 minutes and you will miss an opportunity to meet with someone else. More than 10 minutes turns your conversation into a social situation instead of business-generating event.

If you really have a lot to talk about with someone at a networking event because you have so much in common, handle it in either of two ways:

1. Make an appointment to follow up

2. Decide, not default, that this one person is worth more to you than all the unknown others you may meet here. Make sure you are that valuable to them too.
Your goal is to obtain 6 to 10 cards in one hour. This is an easy score to keep – if you are at a 2 hour networking event, you should leave with 12 – 20 business cards with your notes on them in your pocket.
Here is a break down of what kind of results you can expect from an event. When you speak with 6 to 10 people in an hour, 50% of them will be prospects for you, or will know someone they could refer to you. Wouldn’t you rather have 20 conversations to make it 10 prospects? Of the 10 prospects, 50% will be in the immediate market for your product (or service, in my case).

That does not make 5 new clients in two hours however, because your sales skills come into play. If you have excellent sales skills, 50% of the prospects will choose you. That is 2 or 3 new clients from one networking event and then follow up. That is an excellent return on investment. You can get good at this. You will make money. You will have a business.

P.S. Remember, I told you that I had 2 events to go to last week and planned to practice what I am learning from Wendy Kinney? I had 3 demo appointments scheduled from one event, did two so far, have one customer. I had three demo appointments scheduled from the second event, did two so far, have two customers.

I do not have team members from these events yet, but they just might come out of previous demos, because I am going to use the best follow up method – that is right, the product my service provides! I will keep you posted.

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Keep The Score: Know Your Numbers (Tool To Use For Profit)

 

How often do you go to networking events? In all honesty you don’t expect one networking event to build your whole business, do you? Three events a month is a maintenance mode.

Let’s run some numbers here. 20% of your time should be spent on marketing your business. Let’s say your work 10 hour days 5 days a week. That means you book 10 hours a week for networking and follow up. Unless you have all the clients you want you can’t give me an argument that you don’t have time for that.

Accept invitations, attend events, meet people, develop business. Schedule time for 3 events a month. That’s maintenance. If you need to build your business up, attend more than 3 events a month. This is time spent to get work, don’t think about it as wasted time. Make time to find new clients.

When you are at full capacity (you have all clients that you can handle, or in my case, all team members that need coaching, 70% of your time is spent doing the work; 10% of your time is managing the business; 20% of your time is marketing the business. We are talking traditional business model here. For me personally looking for new people, making connections and doing demos IS the work. The rest is maintenance.

If your full capacity is 10 clients (in the traditional business model), and you have 5, they should take only 35% of your time. If they are high maintenance, deal with it, establish boundaries, put in place rules for yourself, change your scheduling habits, get accountability partner, and recognize that the time difference between full capacity and current client load (number of team members needing coaching in my case) gets added to the marketing time budget.

If out of 10 clients full capacity you have only 2 clients, they get 20% of your total client time. The other 80% of available clients time gets moved to marketing. By the time you are full, with 10 active clients, you’ll only spend 20% of your time marketing, at 3 events a month. Getting the work is the essential activity of a business.

So develop checklists and see how much time you currently spend on different parts of your business. If it is out of balance, make adjustments. Remember, getting the work is the work.

 

5 Steps to Make Their Business Card Work for You (Tool to Use For Profit)

You are a happy owner of your conversation partner’s business card now. Not only that, you also know how you are going to make next contact, because you just told them that when you asked for their card.

Do you get it that it is not important if you talk about your business or not. You are in control. You are going to make another contact anyway. You have not lost anything because they were never going to write you a check on the spot anyway. They will have referrals for you if you stay in touch.

The tips below will help you remember the person who gave you the card and how to follow up.

1. Make a note on the back of their card to tell you what your next action is going to be. Like ‘set up lunch with a friend’, ‘send an article on soccer’. Write the note right there, let them see you documenting the conversation. They were so good, you are not leaving it to a chance. Your credibility will instantly grow, and they will like you.

2. Use a personal shorthand. An L with a circle around it, and a word ‘friend’ should be enough to let you know it is a 3-way Lunch. An A with a circle and ‘soccer’ could be another reminder. An I with a circle and the name of the business association you plan to invite them to will also do the job.

3. Be prepared to not follow through. Yes, you will meet people whose values don’t match yours. It if OK to let them go. In her book ‘Networking Aerobics’ Wendy Kinney is sharing her silent shorthand for that – she bends top right hand corner of the card like a bookmark. When back in your office, you can just throw these kind of cards away. In the unlikely event that they ask what bent corner means, just tell them it is a shorthand.

4. Some people will not appreciate you writing on the front of their cards. If you can make them feel good by writing on the back, not the front of the card, that will show that you are paying attention to them as a person. Absolutely do just that. Write on the back of their card. They will not feel like you are defacing their card, they will like you for that.

5. If their card is glossy, use that stash of 3×5 cards for notes. You can wrap a note card around their business card. Wendy Kinney uses different color ink for different events she attends. Do the same, especially during holiday season, when you go to networking events they call parties – and do everything exactly the same way as I describe in this series of posts. I, of course make sure I get their mailing address, because of the type of business that I do do.

Next post will cover what you need to do to get rid of this person somehow, once you have their card. Sorry, I did not mean it like that. (I could not help it, this joke is directly from Wendy Kinney’s book.

Should You Give Your Business Card? (Tool to Use For Profit)

Now after you had a little conversation with someone, asked them what they do and told them a story about your customer’s results you have a reason to ask them for their business card. You simply ask ‘May I have your card?’

Do not offer your card before they ask for it. If you were taught that the more business cards you hand out, the more business you will get – don’t believe it, it’s a lie. The only one who will be making any money is your printer. If you hand out cards without people asking for them, what makes you think you will get business that way?

Remember the last networking event you went to? How many cards did you collect? Aren’t they wrapped by a rubber band and collecting dust in your desk drawer, making no money for those people? What benefit did those people get from giving you their card? There is absolutely no value in giving your business card to someone who did not ask for it. They don’t have place to put it, so it will end up in the their upper left drawer in the dark.

Wendy Kinney has a suggestion, of course. Her book ‘Networking Aerobics’ has much more detail on a lot of things, but here are a couple of tips from her:

After you found out what you have in common, and how you can bring benefit to each other you ask for their card. First you are going to tell them what you will do with it, otherwise they will think that you just want to add them to your Newsletter mailing list. You can say something to the effect of ‘I will set up lunch with a friend of mine, you will enjoy her’, or ‘I will forward the next announcement and we can go together’, or ‘I’d like to stay in touch’.

When you tell them what you are going to do with the card, they will be eager to give it to you and will look forward to the next contact with you. Once you have their card, take it in two hands and make a comment about it. Complement their logo, or tag line, take a look at their name, ask how long they have been with the company. People will start modelling what you do and everyone will be more comfortable because of you.

Of course, because of what I do has to do with snail mail, I always make sure I have people’s mailing address, so I can mail them ‘Nice to Meet You’ card. May be with a coffee shop gift card.

I want them to remember me, like me and call me back.

How to Have a Little Conversation (Tool to Use for Profit)

Conversation is a layer that will make the other person want to know you. Their interest in you will make you comfortable.

You went to the networking event to meet people and get business and you think business is what you should be talking to people right off the bat. Wrong. Do not do it. The number one reason people do not get business at networking events is because they hand over a business card and talk about what they do before they have a conversation.

The more I read Wendy Kinney’s book (‘Networking Aerobics’), the more I am blown away by how much little things, that many of us do backwards at networking mixers matter.

Listen to this: just like it is important for romantically involved couple to have their first fight and recover from it before they have sex (in that particular order – first fight-recovery-sex, reversing it dooms the relationship), the same way when you first meet people it’s essential to show them, you are interested in them personally as a person, not a prospective paying client, before you give them a card or talk about business.

People do business with people. If you don’t find out what you have in common before you talk about business it dooms the relationship. You will miss a lot of business if you don’t find out what you have in common with the person in front of you first.

Don’t ask questions that are way too personal – even if you think that what you’ve got will help them with whatever issue you think they might have. Stick to ‘have you been to this mixer before?’, ‘are you new in town?’, ‘where are you originally from?’, ask them if they have children and ask questions about children. Ask them about their vacation plans. It is much easier to follow up when you know what you have in common – many times it creates a reason for follow up.

Once you find out at a big sales meeting or a convention for instance (because this technique works everywhere) that your grandparents and the other person’s grandparents where from the same little town, it will be much easier for you to invite them for lunch and start building that relationship even further, wouldn’t it?

If the person you are having a conversation with keeps talking about themselves (way beyond 6 minute max you planned to have per conversation) or if they have nothing to say, stick your hand out, say ‘Nice to meet you’ and go find someone else.

Network. The purpose of a conversation is to find a credible reason to make a second contact. Go for business now and it’s all over. Make a personal connection and you can make money.

It is profitable for you now to ask what they do.

How to Say Your Name (Tool to Use For Profit)

Yes, you read it right – saying your name is a tool to use for your profit. When done properly that is. Everything should work together to ensure that people you meet get to know and like you. When they do, they become open to doing business with you.

Say Your Name.

You can talk while shaking hands with people. The thing to say is your name. Even if you think they know you, say your name. Even if you are wearing a name badge with your first name big, say your name. Most people aren’t good at remembering names, so give them a break. Say your name.

We all have tendency to say our name too quickly. Hearing a name for the first time in a noisy room, one has to make an effort to actually hear it. Make it a memorable introduction. Wendy Kinney in her book Networking Aerobics, talks about a popular way to say a name in the movies – I absolutely loved it – yes, she is referring to James Bond!

I can see myself saying ‘Nichols. Larissa Nichols’. I like that a lot. That is helpful and memorable. Actually, I have been called by my last name before in e-mail follow-ups after networking events. Makes sense now – people simply do not expect to hear a name right away, so when they see my mouth moving, they are a little behind, and hear Nichols only. Not Larissa Nichols. Well, not any more!

Offer words that rhyme with your last name, shortly explain how to spell your name properly. In the choice who should feel uncomfortable, always choose yourself. Make the other person comfortable. People do want to say your name correctly. It’s arrogant to make them think that they should know how without any instruction.

You are at a networking event to meet people who will do business with you, and refer business to you; it’s important for them to know your name. If you hear an unusual name, ask them to tell you the story behind it. It will help you remember that name. The more you know about someone, the easier it is for you to remember their name.

If someone you met before obviously recognizes you but does not remember your name, say it, and remind them where you met. Sales people have to make prospects comfortable, not embarrassed.

Don’t ever walk up to people, hand them your business card and walk away. Walk up to a person, extend your hand, say ‘Hi’ and say your name. The reason you have been hesitant in the past to just walk up and say hi is because you did not know what to do after the hi. Now you do. Say your name, they will feel comfortable around you.

Networking Aerobics: 3. Things Not to Bring and Not to Do

The fortune is in the follow up. I am pretty sure you have heard that. May times.

Here is one really smart way Wendy Kinney uses (I will too, now that I see the brilliant logic of it) to create a follow up sequence.

Yes, this is about what to do and what not to do at a networking event.

Do not bring any stuff. Like brochures about your business and other expensive marketing materials.

You don’t want to see them in trash cans later, do you?

Unless people at the event have an easy way to carry your stuff around, that is exactly where your stuff is going to end up.

Or left on a table, or folded in a pocket.

Here is the catch – listen carefully – not bringing stuff gives you a reason to follow up. Instead of asking people to take flyers off your hands, offer to mail a flyer to them. The ones who are really interested will say yes.

When I saw this in ‘Networking Aerobics’ by Wendy Kinney (look for it in Books on the right, if you are curious), I remembered – that is exactly what happened to me last week at East Andrews MeetUp! I did not bring samples of my greeting cards with me, so I kept offering to mail a card to those I had conversations with – I got about 10 mailing addresses and I mailed them personalized ‘Nice to Meet You’ cards.

Now I can call and offer them to see how I did that. And that is exactly my goal in meeting those people – so I can get together with them and show them what I’ve got. Mission accomplished.

Another thing that you do not bring is your phone. When it rings you answer. The other person thinks about something else. You are busy talking on the phone. When you are done there is no time/topic to continue talking about, it was lost because of the call. Why exactly you are at a networking event? To meet new people and get them to know you and like you, right? Can you accomplish that if you are busy talking on the phone? Well, leave it in the vehicle.

The most important thing to understand and remember about attracting new business by referrals through networking is this: no one is going to buy anything from you at this networking event.

The reason for that is – for every 10 people you meet, 8 will need a minimum of five (5) contacts with you before they decide to buy from you or refer to you. When you meet people for the first time, it is just like cold calling – it works 1% of the time. 80% of the time people will need five or more contacts before they make a decision to buy from you.

The good news is that 48% of your competition will never make a second contact. 25% of your competitors will reach out for a second touch. So if you reach out three times you’ve reduced your competition by 73%. Seventeen percent of people in your industry will follow up three times and then quit because they don’t want to seem too pushy. 80% of all sales happen after the  5th contact.

48+25+17=90

When you contact them a 4th time you leave 90% of your competitors behind. If 80% of your prospects buy after five contacts, 90% of your competitors stop at three, the fortune is definitely in the follow up. All you have to do is stay in touch and you’ll get the business. Do you get now why you should leave your phone in the car?

Because networking event is just the first contact. You are there to meet people; they are not going to buy from you anyway. You want to get their card (with mailing address in my case – they’ve got to see my greeting cards in their mailboxes!) and follow up.

You want them to remember you and know that you like them.