Attracting new clients today isn’t the same as 25 years ago. With the ‘Do Not Call’ registry and secure buildings, it is difficult to cold call on the phone or in person. It’s easy to connect with people on social media sites but one of the best strategies for meeting prospects and strategic partners is to attend networking events. For many, how to network is the challenge, therefore, we’ve created some networking tips to help you achieve greater results every time you attend an event.
While networking comes easy to some, it is very difficult for others. If you are an introvert, shy or just don’t like large crowds, getting out there to network can feel overwhelming. At the same time, if you’ve been attending networking events for awhile and aren’t seeing any results, consider these ideas before attending your next event:
- How do you describe what you do? If someone asks you the question ‘What Do You Do?” how will you respond? The best thing you can do is answer in such a way that will get the other person to say ‘WOW’ how do you do that? Instead of saying I’m a lawyer or I’m a landscaper answer it with I help businesses stay out of trouble or I give people more time. Practice and rehearse your answers and be ready for the follow up response when you are asked “how do you do that?”
- What do you sound like? One of the biggest mistakes people make when attending networking events is doing all of the talking, especially about themselves and their companies. If you are a talker, you aren’t going make a great impression. It’s important to LISTEN. Ask questions and then be quiet. You’ll learn a lot and the other person will feel important because you took an interest in them. Your tone of voice is also something to consider. If you are the quiet type, practice projecting so people can hear you!
- How do you look? – Believe it or not, how you look makes a big difference on how approachable you are. If you are dressed professionally, more people will approach you. If you look like you don’t belong, you probably won’t see the results you are looking for. If you aren’t sure about how to dress for the event you are attending, contact the host/hostess and they will give you an indication. If you aren’t sure about your own style of dress, contact a styling consultant and get some professional tips.
- What is your attitude? Do you come across as friendly, warm and someone people want to talk to? If you are in a bad mood, mad at the word or desperate for business, people will notice . You’ll probably be someone they don’t want to follow up with, even if you have the best product or service on the market. If you are having a bad day, leave it in the car or don’t go to the event at all.
- Do you make proper eye contact? As simple as this concept seems, it’s essential to make eye contact with people. When you are having a conversation with someone and you are looking past them or your eyes are roaming around the room, they’ll notice and feel you aren’t interested in them. Making eye contact during a conversation with someone is an extremely important skill when it comes to sales and networking.
- Are you distracted? When you are at networking events, put your phone and other distractions away. Most people feel put off when they are having a conversation with you and you interrupt them to answer your phone. Most calls can wait 5-10 minutes to be returned. If you phone rings, let it go to voice mail and call the person back when you have finished your conversation. Be focused, take your time and let everyone you talk to feel like they are the most important person in the world.
- How is your handshake? Having a good handshake can make a difference with a first impression. You don’t want to squeeze someone’s hand so hard that it hurts, nor do you want to provide the wimpy handshake. Some people will judge you by your handshake. Make sure you get it right!
The ideas provided above are subtle but important areas when preparing and evaluating your networking. Let us know your best strategies when at a networking event.