Have you ever gone to a networking event and promised yourself that you’d follow up with everyone you met? Now be honest for a minute…have you?
If you did that’s awesome. Read on to help you keep the conversation going.
If not… well… it’s time to keep that promise and follow up!
The secret to any relationship is the “know, like and trust” factor. This is true for both business and personal relationships. Here are my 3 top strategies to help you get to know the people you just met, let them get to know you and move the relationship forward to be mutually profitable.
- Pick up the phone and call them. This isn’t rocket science but the next piece of it is key… Nobody is going to want to speak with you because of your agenda. When your new contact answers the phone let them know what they will get out of a conversation with you and, if possible, link your reason to something you learned about them when you met.
- If they answer the phone ask them if they are free to speak for a few minutes (DO NOT assume that they are!). Tell them that you enjoyed meeting them and would like to get to know them better to see how you could (insert your reason from #1 here).
- Before you hang up the phone with them outline specific next steps. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is saying something like “let’s definitely keep in touch.” I’m telling you that’s a sure fire way to never speak with them. Instead say something like, “It’s been great speaking with you. How about we touch base in a week? How does Monday at 2pm work for you?
Oh, and here’s a bonus for you. Honesty is best. If you find yourself a bit behind in following up, fess up. Say something like, “I know it’s been a while and I’ve been meaning to call you. I’m sorry I didn’t. I guess it took me a while to finally get tired of looking at the pile of business cards laying on my desk so here I am.”
Who are you going to get in touch with? Go ahead and share and let’s make it happen!
The cool thing about having your own business is that you get to do whatever you want. You can create a new program if you want. You decide who you will work with and what services you will offer your clients. You decide what you’ll sell and how you want to promote your business. You dictate your marketing activities. You might choose to promote through Facebook, a new website, a contest, networking, attending events, or even some really cool idea that your cousin suggested.
The possibilities are endless. It’s exciting, it’s empowering, it’s overwhelming, it’s mind numbing.
With all of the possibilities, how do you figure out what you’re going to do? How do you keep your eye on your goal and make sure you move down the path that you’ve decided to take?
Here’s what I do when I know I’m heading into a situation where I’m going to be bombarded (in a good way) with a lot of great ideas and opportunities. This system allows me to triage the ideas before I get attached to them, and helps me keep my focus on the direction that is right for me at the moment. I encourage you to give this system a try.
Before heading into an event or situation that is likely going to produce many ideas (such as a marketing training or business growth event) take a few minutes to think about your overall goals for your business AND your overall goals for the event.
For instance… the overall goal for your business may be revenue based; however, your goal for the event may be client or partnership leads. Keep the number of goals (especially for the event) limited to just one or two goals.
Write your goals on separate sheets of paper in a notebook that you will bring with you (or separate pages in a document if you’re bringing a laptop).
The goals should be very specific. How many clients or leads are you looking for? How much revenue do you plan to generate? What type of program do you want to create?
Add one more page to your collection. Label it “Ideas that are super cool but do not track towards my goal”.
As you meet people, sit in sessions, or are exposed to new opportunities, record the ideas based on which goal they will help you to achieve.
This is the most important step because after the event is when the overwhelm often sets in. Review your notes one goal at a time and identify which two ideas are likely to give you the biggest push towards that specific goal. Then check to see if any of the ideas will help you track towards multiple goals. Finally, decide which idea (of the ones you’ve identified) will be the most enjoyable for you to do, and focus your attention there.
The point of all of this is not to do everything. Focus your energy and attention on the ideas and strategies that are most likely to bring you the success you desire. Oh, in case you’re wondering what you should do with the sheet labeled Ideas that are super cool but do not track towards my goal, technically you don’t need them; however, I know it’s human nature to collect things. So go ahead and write them down, then make sure to give yourself permission to recognize them as good ideas that do not belong in your plan.
What goals are you tracking towards right now? What strategy are you going to embrace to help you meet that goal? Share them with the world and make them real by commenting below.
We’ve all heard that going to events and networking is very important. Meeting someone in person is generally a much faster and effective way to get to know him or her than through online methods.
There are some people who are born networkers. I’m not one of them. I didn’t like networking until I found a few strategies that helped me feel more comfortable and make them more fun and yes…rewarding.
Here are the top 7 strategies that I use myself, AND of course share with my clients, for enjoying (and getting the most out of) networking events.
- Smile. Before you step out of your car or hotel room, take a deep breath and smile. Purposefully “turn it on”. Bring that smile into the room with you and keep it there.
- Rescue someone. You’re not the only one who doesn’t enjoy going to networking events. There is almost always someone standing off to the side or alone. Go over to them and make them feel comfortable. They will appreciate being rescued and you will have someone who wants to talk with you. Then, if you see other people just standing around invite them to join your new group. You’ll be looked upon as a connector.
- Don’t worry about what you’re going to say. Learn about your new friend. You can start the conversation by complimenting a piece of jewelry, mentioning the artwork in the room or asking them why they came. Let them talk. When the time is right the conversation will naturally turn to you and you’ll be able to share.
- Relax. Remember that this is nothing more than a conversation. Don’t try to sell. Don’t try to impress, just get to know each other and be yourself. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Establish a relationship. Get to know each other.
- Don’t try to meet everyone. It’s not a competition. Personally, I prefer to get to know a few people well than to have superficial conversations with everyone.
- Follow up. It’s more important for you to get his or her contact information than for you to give your card to everyone you meet. The truth is that very few people follow up after networking events. Tell your new friend how and when you’ll be in touch after the event so that they expect it.
- Attend the same networking group regularly. The more often you go the better you will know the people, the easier it will be and the more business you will get from it.
What are your favorite networking strategies? Share them with me.
She told me that she was a networking queen. She averaged two events a week and met many people. She even followed up with them AND kept in touch afterwards. Why then, she asked me, was she having trouble finding clients?
I asked her the following question. Are you sharing information about your services and asking them to hire you?
Her response was a single word. “No.”
When I told her that I thought we found the problem she went on to tell me that she didn’t know how to. What should she say? And how could she ask someone to work with her (this is a big one) and not feel pushy about it?
Seems that she had been a museum. Let me explain.
Museums are amazing places filled with all sorts of treasures. As a visitor, you get to walk the halls and galleries and look at it all. As you wander your mind takes everything in. Sometimes you can take pictures (sometimes not). No matter what, you walk away with wonderful memories because you know you can’t bring any of the treasures home with you.
Now let’s talk about stores. Stores are also filled with amazing things. You get to browse the aisles and the shelves. As you browse your imagination can go wild. There are so many options.
Do you know what the difference is? When you go into a store you are told that the things you see can be purchased and there is a price tag attached to each item. You know that if something touches you, if you need it, or just want it, you can buy it and take it home.
As an entrepreneur you have to let your prospective clients know you are a store. You don’t need to be brash and cheesy about it, and you certainly NEVER want to pressure anyone into buying anything or push him or her towards things that aren’t suitable just so that you “make the sale”.
What is important is that you make it perfectly clear that you have products or services for sale, what those products or services are and what they can do for your prospective client. Finally you need to make it easy for people to buy.
Think about the last five or ten conversations you’ve had…have you been a museum or a store? Let me know by sharing below.
Full disclosure here… CarrieThru is a store. We have products and services that we sell to support entrepreneurs with marketing, sales and productivity. I would be happy to have a discussion with you about how these products or services could help you grow your business and increase your profits. I promise never to strong-arm you into a decision.
If you’d like to speak with Carrie directly, simply click here to set up a time for you to explore (if none of the times work for you just send an email to me, Carrie@CarrieThru.com and we’ll work something out).
The price tag for the discussion? $0. We’ll talk first and if you want to buy you may.
Networking is vital to growing your business. Simply put, unless you go out and meet people nobody will know you exist. If they don’t know you exist they can’t hire you. You can be the best “networker” out there (see last week’s article for more information on how to network) but unless you follow up with the people you meet you are wasting your time.
I have met so many people who complain to me that they meet people but that the leads go nowhere. Here’s why, business cards sitting in piles on your desk are not clients. I have found it easiest to follow up after networking events when I have a plan in place BEFORE I even leave my room. Here are five simple strategies that I use to put that plan in place and make sure that I carry through.
- Decide how and when you will follow up with people after the event. Things that have worked for my clients and me are:
- Send an article that is a good follow up to most of your conversations that represent what you do and is of value to readers. (Note: This should be an article that helps your new contact, not a sales brochure).
- Pick up the phone and call. (Note: Set aside time on your calendar to make those calls and decide what you want to accomplish with these calls…again, this is your opportunity to get to know them, NOT sell). Read more
Procrastination is the result of many things. Oftentimes it’s the result of simply not wanting to do something. You know you should or that you’re supposed to, but you don’t do it. This is what I hear when I talk to my clients about going to networking events. They know it’s the right thing to do but … YUCK!
I know there are some born networkers. I’m not one of them and didn’t like networking until I found a few strategies that helped me feel more comfortable and make them more fun and yes…rewarding. Here are the top 5 strategies that I share with my clients AND use for myself for enjoying (and getting the most out of) networking events.
- Rescue someone. You’re not the only one who doesn’t enjoy going to networking events. There is almost always someone standing off to the side or alone. Go over to them and make them feel comfortable. They will appreciate being rescued and you will have someone who wants to talk with you. Then, if you see other people just standing around invite them to join your new group. You’ll be looked upon as a connector. Read more
I was speaking to a colleague the other day. Like me she’s a coach who works with other business owners. We hadn’t spoken for about a year, so I was happy to catch up. When I asked her what was going on in her life she told me that she was looking for a job in the corporate world. She missed the predictability of a job. She was tired of making decisions and she missed the regular paycheck.
In some ways I can relate. Running your own business is often difficult, but I find the rewards outweigh the difficulties. All in all I love being an entrepreneur, but there’s one thing I can’t stand…being a solopreneur. It gets lonely! It’s so easy to spend your day alone and lost in your own world with no perspective about what’s going on around you.
As business owners there are so many things we’re supposed to do, have to do and want to do. We know we’re supposed to be actively marketing our businesses and staying on top of all the new marketing trends. We’re supposed to be networking and making sure that our pipeline, funnel or whatever you want to call it stays full. We’re supposed to create new products and programs so that our material stays fresh and we continue to expand our reach. We’re supposed to take care of ourselves and make sure that we’re balancing our lives with our businesses. And of course, we’re supposed to earn income. Just thinking about it all is exhausting…forget doing it!
Here’s what I know to be true…when you try to do too many things, nothing gets done. Read more