Networking: There is a technique
Business Networking by Definition: Professionally meeting with other people to facilitate business.
Recently, I have re-joined the B.N.I. (Business Networking International). Back in 2008 I first joined in order to meet owners of small businesses that wanted to grow revenues and profits. I was so successful in doing this, largely through networking, that by 2010 I cancelled my membership of the B.N.I. as my client book was full. Many of the small businesses I mentored went on to be medium size businesses with a few becoming big.
Now I wish to repeat the cycle. I need more small businesses to mentor in business development for growth. Hence my joining the B.N.I.
I in order to refresh my memory and take my renewed membership seriously I checked back on my mentoring notes concerning networking and found my Top Ten Tips for ‘Professionally Meeting with Other People to Facilitate Business. As follows:
- Use the SAS’s 6 P’s: Pre planning prevents p**s poor performance.
- Obtain the Delegates list prior to the event and establish who you would like to meet.
- Ensure you are equipped with business cards and a pre prepped short introduction (1 min) about what you do for people. Have a memory hook. Wear a badge? (If so on the right side) Bring a pen and a diary.
- Arrive early, it’s easier for introductions and to get to know people than to break into a group later.
- Meet NEW people. Don’t hang out with people you know.
- Help others to meet. Make introductions, they in turn, by example, will be encouraged to introduce you to others.
- Avoid dwelling to long with one person. There’s a whole room full of people to meet! Be open about moving on to meet with them.
- When you meet with someone you wish to do business with remember no selling, get to know them and get a 1 on 1 meeting at later date. (Diarise it)
- It is useful sometimes to write on the business cards you are given to help you with the most important tip of all…???????
- FOLLOW UP IMMEDIATELY AT THE OFFICE AFTER THE EVENT!
How do you get the most out of Networking?
From my experience, it is best to use networking events to get to know people. Not try to sell them stuff. Hopefully, there are prime prospects in the room that you know are in the market for your particular products (or services). When you meet them avoid talking about business. Keep it light. Ask questions about them. Establish commonality. Recently I attended a dinner party at a friends and met new people. One chap from that dinner later turned up at a 7am network breakfast I was at. On seeing me drawing a lifesaving cup of coffee from the machine provided, he rushed over and confronted me with ‘Have you ever considered taking out Private Medical Insurance?’ Not even a: ‘Good Morning’; ‘hello remember me’, or; ‘good to see you again.’ Just hard sell. I still need to get private medical insurance.
At best, your objective at networking events is to secure appointments or meet up for a cup of coffee with people that you are interested in doing business with. It’s simple. Build rapport. Once rapport is established, move on to specific questions, professionally assisting the interested party to buy the products they need from you, or visa versa.
My new B.N.I. group are running a visitor’s day soon. If you want to know more about Business Networking please get in touch.