June 10, 2017

Starting Conversations at a Networking Event

Bob Burg’s book, “Endless Referrals” is a great book for anybody who wants to increase their sphere of clients, prospects, friends, and relationships. From start to finish this book covers all phases of networking. Building relationships is the route to success, and Bob Burg details how to do it.

We all should network, whether at meetings specifically promoted as networking events or at general meetings for business people to attend (luncheons, seminars, whatever). Every business meeting is a networking opportunity, and all attendees should understand that these are opportunities for networking and building relationships.

At a meeting specifically promoted as a networking meeting, starting conversations should be easy. After all, everyone should expect that networking is one of the reasons that they are there. Starting a conversation with people at other types of meetings might be more difficult, but we can do so at all meetings if we approach them in a non-threatening manner. It is just that simple.

If we see friends at a meeting, say hello to them and ask how they are. However, we are there to network with people that we do not know, strangers who are not already our networking partners. We may be targeting someone who is in attendance, but the main objectives of our efforts should not be people that we already know. Get out of our comfort zone, and look for people who are new to us.

Some of these people may not be veterans of networking as we are and might be nervous. Greet and comfort them; make them feel welcome. Ask their name and what they do. Exchange business cards and comment on something after looking at their card. Maybe they don’t know anyone else; after we get acquainted, we can introduce them to someone that we know.

If we learn that they are interested in meeting specific people, we might be able to introduce them to those attendees, or we might be able to refer them to some partners of ours later. If we cannot refer them to specific people, perhaps we know someone who might be able to help them meet the people for whom they are searching.

Remember do not start to sell; just establish a beginning to a relationship. We may be able to start the conversation from their name tag, or they may do so from ours. Ask them where they are located, or their accent may lead to a discussion. Maybe we know someone in a similar industry or in another group that they may mention.

No matter what we do, do not start selling our product or company, or even ourselves. Ask them if they would like to get together and get better acquainted at another time, promising to contact them later. If they offer to set a meeting right away, do so, but don’t push for one; that is what follow up is for. If we suggest a future meeting, our call will not be a cold call, but a genuine follow up call.

Gratitude Marketing techniques are very applicable in building relationships. Cultivate relationships first, and we will cultivate business partners, clients, and referrals for more prospects. Meet others, cultivate relationships, always be grateful towards others, and all of us will prosper, both in business and personally.

Please leave any comments, or call 360-314-8691, or email Jim@SOC4Now.com. Perhaps we can all help each other be better people.

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