Mindy J. Selinger, Guest Author
When you take the pressure of “selling” out of the networking equation you will notice that conversations will flow easier.
Relax. Networking is about meeting new people and learning what is unique about them in a business sense.
Seek out the person standing alone and strike up conversations. Be the rescuer or forlorn networkers. You know their pain. You may find a gem of a connection you would have never met because they were not in the middle of the action.
You are about to learn a few pre-qualifying questions. Questions are a combination of four simple questions that are used to determine if the stranger could be a PowerPartner for you (someone with whom you like and trust; and to mutually have each other’s back). These questions support the non-sales, information-gathering strategy everyone needs to know. It’s time to get a much broader intention when you enter a networking event; that of building alliances, and gathering information, plus the strategies to carry out that intention.
1. What business are you in? What does your company do? What line of work are you in? Many times the answers to these questions will give you a clue to additional partnership possibilities.
2. The second piece of information you need to know is where they fit in the company, so you may ask: “What is your position with the company?”, or “Is this your own business?”
3. You are in the middle of a great conversation, but most importantly, you know exactly where you’re going with your questions, and the next one is the most important one: “What is your target market?” or “What type of client do you work with?” Hopefully, the clients they describe are your clients too.
4. This question continues to zero in on the perfect PowerPartner: “How long have you been with your company?” If the question to this question is, “I just started with them last week,” that person may have little clout, and very few contacts. Not so fast… It could be they’re very well connected, having moved to their present job after a long association elsewhere. They could still be a good connection. The point is: Do not jump to conclusions, keep digging.
Larry’s NOTE: I’ve written numerous articles stating that business networking is about building relationships. These 4 questions will get you started, however, it often takes months to build the kind of relationships that are worthwhile and long-term. Keep the conversation going – if you see a possible relationship, follow up with an offer to get together to learn more about each others businesses and how you can best help each other. Make your connections count! Follow up! Please don’t be too busy to follow up! There can be no relationship without effective follow up.
There now… that should better prepare you to jump into the deep end of the pool when you network at a large networking event!
BONUS Articles: “How Can I Help You?”
10 (+ 2) Networking Questions That Work Every Time
32 (Actually) Interesting Networking Questions You Could Ask Instead
Working a Room If You’re SHY – No Pills Required
Do You Fade Into the Wall?
Out-of-Meeting Follow Up
Copyright © 2015 – Mindy J. Selinger. Mindy is the author of, “Face-to-Face Networking Skills,” and has been actively involved in business networking on many levels since starting her first business in 1991. More info: www.FacetoFaceNetworkingBook.com.
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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