When your business plan is formulated and you are ready to take on the world, be certain that you are making a great impression. Are your networking tactics going over like a lead balloon? “I networked all the time and still never got any clients.” If these are the results you are getting, then it is time to change your tactics.
Stop selling. We’ve all attended events where someone has a stack of business cards in their hand and just starts handing them out. They often fail to even ask anything about you. AND they start telling about the advantages of what they offer. Or the only thing we can think of to say to someone is, “And what do you do?” Networking isn’t about selling. You really want to build relationships and let people know what you do so they can refer to you.
Anne Randolph told me that when she stopped selling, she actually received more clients when she shifted to networking to build relationships. The purpose of networking is to give and get information. You are not selling, you are telling. You are not asking for favors, you are giving valuable information.
I’m on the Board of Creative Connections and enjoy meeting new creatives each month at our meeting on the first Friday at 9:00 a.m. in the Denver area. Check us out at http://www.meetup.com/Creative-Connections
Strategy: Build relationships first. Identify your ideal alliance partners and get to know them. They are business owners who market to your same niche. Ask questions to learn more about them. Learn how to soar and not come away feeling like a deflated balloon.
Tactic: Attend networking events with a goal in mind. Identify how many people you want to meet. Be clear about your niche so you can clearly tell someone whom you want to meet.