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.

 

How To Exit. Graciously. Follow up. (Tools To Use For Profit)

After you have introduced your conversation partner Jane to Mary who was wrapping it up with Kim, you are about to leave Jane and Mary to meet someone new. Wait a minute, it is even easier than that – someone new is right in front of you – it is Kim, Mary’s conversation partner who is also available to talk with someone new now!

There could be another scenario – Jane and Mary could include Kim into their conversation. Just tell Jane that you will call her, smile and walk away. You have done your job as an introducer, you let Mary know why you wanted her to meet Jane – your explanation made everyone comfortable.

Networking is not handing out business cards. Networking is introductions. Networking is learning about people and introducing them to other people. You are the link, that is the work. Without you they won’t know each other. Their gratitude to you is repaid in connections and referrals.

One way you get business out of all of this is you tell them Problem-Action-Results story and they might relate to it and say ‘I need that now’. Listen to them and smile. When they finish ask them if next morning would be good time to call for an appointment. It is easy when they are magnetically attracted. They will choose you instead of you prospecting them.

Another way you get business is – they will remember your Problem-Action-Results story and when they have a client with the same problem they will say ‘I know exactly who you need to talk to…’ And because you kept in touch they will bring that ready client right to you. Wendy Kinney calls this ‘happy, happy, joy, joy networking. It’s a waste of time with a glass of wine.

When you are back home take those business cards with your notes on them and do exactly what you told those people you would do. You have to follow up so they remember you and know that they can rely on you when they refer a client. It is much easier to just put business cards into to-do pile and start checking e-mail and voice mail.

Not following up is often the only reason networking is not profitable. It is essential when you plan to go to a networking event to block time the next day to follow up. That is how you know to offer a call for an appointment next morning. The next thing you do is schedule your next networking event. That is right – rinse and repeat!

How to Do The Introduction (Tool to Use For Profit)

I did tell you in one of earlier posts that the more comfortable people are around you at a networking event, the more they like you, right? That is exactly what you want them to do, so they are much more inclined to refer business to you.

That is why when you have spent 6 to 10 minutes talking to them and are ready to part ways, it will be profitable to you to release the conversation by introducing them to someone else. Less than 10 minutes and they will not remember the conversation when you follow up, more than 10 minutes and it will cost you an opportunity to meet someone else. By this time you should have thought about someone you want to introduce them to.

While talking with your conversation partner you have learned that their daughter is in the marching band. You know that Jane Doe also has a child in the marching band. So tell them, that you want to introduce them to Jane Doe because she is going to want to hear about their daughter’s experience in the band.

Now turn away and look around the room until you spot Jane. Then say ‘she is over here’ and start walking toward her with your conversation partner. Are you concerned that it would be rude to interrupt someone’s conversation? Remember that everybody there to meet new people. Jane is here to make connections, you will be doing her a favor by introducing your conversation partner to her.

Of course that does not change the fact that interrupting is rude, so while you are walking toward her  1. make eye contact with her and 2. smile really wide, showing teeth. She will know that you are walking toward her and will bring her conversation to the place where she can bring you in. She will create a moment to reach out her hand and greet you. Shake hands with her and then say ‘Jane I would like to introduce you to Mary, her daughter is in the marching band’. As you are saying this they will be shaking hands, then start talking and you will be out of it.

If Jane did not see you coming, there is a way to know if it is OK to interrupt a conversation. If two people are standing kneecap to kneecap, do not interrupt, it is a private conversation. If people are standing in an open triangle, they are inviting people to join their conversation. If you see Jane standing kneecap to kneecap with someone, you could tell Mary that you will bring Jane over later and introduce her to someone else.

You will make each of them so comfortable, that beginning a conversation will be easy for them. They will each think of you as a ‘great networker’. They will both like you. Mission accomplished, you are building good relationships with people.

I will go practice what I learn from Wendy Kinney’s book ‘Networking Aerobics’ at 3 different events in the next 2 weeks, as I am looking for business partners to join my team.

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.

How to Shake Hands (Tool to Use for Profit)

So, we are still talking about Newtworking Aerobics, in terms of how (in what manner that is) we actually need to be doing things we need to be doing at networking events. To have people know and like you by making them comfortable around you.

Handshakes.

There is unwritten rule about handshakes: if you shaking, you are standing. At a sit-down event the standing rule applies. If a person approaching you while you are sitting does not want to shake, there is no need to stand up.

Important handshake rule one: palm flat. All business handshakes use flat palm technique. No exceptions.

Important handshake rule two: thumbs web-to web. That means do not do dead fish (only fingers extended), nor limp wrist (handshake partner stops at their knuckles).

Important handshake rule three: you have to participate. Shaking hands is not a spectator sport. That means your fingers curl.

Your confident professional handshake will make an instant difference in how people will bring you into their conversations, because your handshake tells them about you.

A flat-palm, fingers-curled, three-shakes handshake is one of the tools you can use to remember other people’s names and help them remember yours.

Do not place any emphasis on how you think your hand feels to them – hot, cold, etc. Instead of apologizing for something you have little control over, place you attention on where you have total control: on what you say. You want this brand new acquaintance to remember your name, not your excuse.

Wendy Kinney talks in much more detail on handshakes in her book Networking Aerobics.

Say Your Name is the next tool for tomorrow.

These Are Tools. Use Them to Your Profit.

Methods to the Madness – Networking Aerobics continued.

Today was Labor Day. My additional day off, and Gilbert and I made it a true day off. We decided to go to Helen, GA because it is one of the places we visited together when we just started dating. Back in spring (it was an early one this year and it because hot quick) we decided to go tubing down Chattahoochee river up in Helen. Now the summer is gone and we still did not do it. So, tubing it is!

We called to find out if they still run the tubing this late in season, packed our stuff and off we went. Took 3 tubes (one of the staff thought that one will not be enough for Gil) and went to the launching site. This was my first time tubing, I cannot say that I was watching people to see how they actually got into tubes. I simply put my tube into the water, turned my back to it and fell into my tube butt first. It worked perfect.

Gil fastened two of his tubes together, held on to the handle of one of them and from what it looked like, wanted to put his knee into the tube. I suggested he goes butt first. He did not. The next thing I know Gil is falling into the water back first, his legs are up in the air, his head submerged in the water. ‘I am OK’ was the first thing he said once his head appeared out of the water. ‘Butt first. Got it.’ was the second thing he said. He got up, turned his back to his tube, and went down butt first. It worked perfect.

The same way, there are little tricks to how to do what you know you should do when you are meeting people at a networking mixer. The way you do those things has to make people like you. People like you, when you make them comfortable around you. That is your ticket to developing relationship with them and receiving referrals from them. Wendy Kinney’s book Networking Aerobics is a treasure box full of great tips on that.

Showing Confidence.

No matter what the etiquette tells us, at a networking event the person with the most confidence extends their hand first.

Showing confidence is one of the criteria for success.

Not being confident mind you, just showing confidence for 2 hours. You can do it.

Confident is: eye contact+straight shoulders+a smile. Confident = an answer to a question+a question back.

Confidence makes you appear comfortable. When you are comfortable people around you will relax. Just confidently walk up and offer a handshake.

Below is the rest of the topics I will expand on later:

Handshakes.

Say Your Name.

A Little Conversation.

What Do You Do?

May I Have Your Card?

Future Planning.

The Introduction.

The Exit.

Follow Up.

Rinse and Repeat.