Do you waste people’s time when you first meet at a networking event by shoving your business card in their hand and immediately switching to “sales mode” by boring them with what you do? Save your breath. They don’t care!
If you do, your mindless chatter is considered unsolicited and exceedingly annoying! It’s silly, a major time waster, and it’s totally ineffective. You will only succeed in frustrating yourself and annoying the people you network with.
One of the biggest mistakes people make at networking events is to talk excessively about “their” company or product long before the person they are talking to has any reason to care. People do not like to be bombarded with information they haven’t requested. Networkers like this will cause you to spend a lot of time and produce ZERO results.
On your drive home you may wonder why. Many eventually believe that networking doesn’t work and see it as a waste of time. They are right! That way doesn’t work. . . ever!
Instead talk about things that interest them. . . themselves!
“It is impossible to need excuses when the focus of your life shifts from ‘What’s in it for me?’ to ‘How can I serve?'” ~ Wayne Dyer
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone whose technique was to focus on asking you questions about you or your business and thought, “Wow! What a great conversationalist” and later realize that you were actually the one doing most of the talking?
There is a great lesson here.
The greatest percentage of people you talk to at networking events are in the mode of “what’s in it for ME!” Don’t talk about your company or product. There will be time for that later provided the two of you click and you both decide that building a business relationship might be beneficial to each of you.
Ask lots of questions about them. What you ask should be relevant. You can’t ask too much. When you keep the conversation focused on them, they get that you are really interested and their response and reaction is usually predictable. They feel good about talking with you. You “connected!” Effective and focused questions have promise. They identify areas where you can help. You can never learn anything if you are always the one doing the talking.
• What do you do?
• How did you get started in the (fill in the blank) business?
• How long have you been doing it?
• What do you enjoy most about what you do?
• How could I know if someone I know could be a prospect for you? – etc.
No one will walk away from you when they are talking about themselves. People love the spotlight. Design your questions to put them in it.
Your intent must be pure. The people who are successful in business networking are those who are genuinely interested in people. They care about helping others. They are “givers” not “takers.” They have a specific intention of being of service; of being a connector; that is, asking questions whose answers identify people who can be of service to them and then assisting them in making the connection.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. . . about them!” ~ (Note: This quote has been atributed to Zig Ziglar, Cavett Robert, John C. Maxwell, Theodore Roosevelt and others.) 😉
Basic Sales 101 says: “People buy benefits.”
How can what you can do for them be something they care about hearing more about? When you do get an opportunity to talk about you, talk about what your company or what you can do FOR them.
“Think about each of your products and services and what needs are satisfied [or what benefits are provided]. Then, think of how you can identify groups in that category and what you will say to speak to the core need. Alternatively, think about what products and services you offer that fill each need. The more basic the need, the better the response you can expect.” ~ Matt Michel, CEO of the Service Roundtable
Invest your valuable time only where you will get a return. And for goodness sake, do it the right way. The time that you are wasting in attempting to sell to people who don’t care is time that is stolen from helping the people who do.
Focus on building the relationship first, and the leads and referrals will automatically begin to flow.
“You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” ~ Zig Ziglar
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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