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I Hate In-Person Networking

Group of unidentifiable business people

Okay, so I don’t really, but how else am I going to get the attention of the people whom I want to help.  In the last six years, about 99% of my clients have come directly or indirectly from in-person networking. It all started when a LinkedIn contact invited me to a BNI meeting. There I met Gwen Timmons who wanted help cold calling. So I schlepped her cold calling and she schlepped me to network meetings. I quickly had no more reason to cold call, although I keep telling myself that I need to add it back to a small degree into my current marketing.

Back to you… Please do not go in looking for prospects. That is called prospecting, not networking.  I can promise that if you have gone to network meetings looking for hot prospects you have gotten burnt out, quickly.  You need to go in looking for two types of people. Seek out people who are not competitors, but share your target market and people who seem as if they would make good referral partners for you simply because there is chemistry between them and you. It is a good idea to have a referral fee in place in your business. Mine is 15%. I give a 15% finders fee for almost all of my services. 

It would be nice to meet everyone, but spend your time with those people who have the characteristics of your favorite and most likely clients. Those are the people that will introduce you to people similar to themselves. Don’t waste your time with other people. They will steal your time there and steal your time with followups. It will be a costly game of beating a dead horse.

Leave your brochures, post cards, and samples at home. Again,you are not there to sell.  If someone begins asking for a lot of information about your business or you want to follow-up with someone because there is chemistry between you and them, offer them your card. In other situations, don’t give someone your business card unless they ask for it. I usually take unsolicited cards that I am given, stick my hand in my purse and bend the card in half. That’s the last time I spend time on that card. It saves a lot of time when I am doing the followup for that meeting. If I do run into real prospects, I have a special place for those in my purse and another place for possible referral partners. 

After letting someone know “what you do,” don’t answer questions about your business or product that no one is asking.  This seems to be a huge challenge for some people in multilevel marketing. Resist brothers and sisters. Resist that temptation! You will know that I really care about who started your company or how old it is, when I ask. 

Did you know that it is not important in networking that people like you? It is more important that you like them because they can discern it. Find something to like about them. Until you get that in place, you will never know if they will make a good referral partner for you or not.  

Whether you are a tennis player or not, you probably know that when the ball comes on one player’s side, the object is not for that player to keep the ball. Well, good networking is just like that. Every time your mouth is moving, hit the ball and get the conversation away from you. Don’t be thinking about anything except what that person is saying. That includes, what you can say next. Don’t interrupt. No, what you want to say is probably not more important. Keeping in line with the etiquette, or lack of that I am well known for, I can say, keeping in character, just shut up.

If  you are getting along so well with someone that you are not meeting more people and are hindering them from mixing also, that’s a good time to pull out your phone and set up a one on one meeting. That way you can further establish your good relationship with them and continue mixing with other people.

Know what people will be wearing. I went to a wedding reception brunch one weekend. The couple had been married overseas so they were having a get together for local friends and family.  Everyone was casual, but the “groom” had on a tux. He was awful cute all dressed up, but he looked like he was on the wait staff. You can over dress so much that you will look like part of the staff of the facility.

I left the most important thing for last. Be yourself. Be transparent. Have fun. It is God’s business as to whom you have favor with and whom he chooses to reject from you for your sake!

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