Several years ago I was getting ready to leave my office for a networking luncheon meeting. As I was heading out the door, my office phone rang. I had only a split second to choose to answer or allow my voice-mail to pick up. I answered the phone and I am glad I did.
Over the past several months I had been talking with a client about presenting a series of networking events in Chicago and discovered that she was calling from a hotel in Scottsdale – the same hotel as my networking meeting. What a convenient coincidence. I told her I was on my way to her hotel to a business networking meeting and invited her to go with me. She accepted.
I was excited to introduce her to my friends and to let her see that I was actually practicing what I preached and to be an example of how important my networking meeting was. Another coincidence was that I had been asked to present my “Ten Commitments of Networking” talk for the group and since she had not heard me speak I was glad it was all coming together.
After the meeting was over, I was anxious to meet with her to talk about the Chicago event, but she had been cornered by someone who was interested in her business. I watched as she made an appointment to meet with them later that day.
I found out later that she had other business in Scottsdale and was calling me just to stay in touch, not being sure we would be able to meet during her visit.
The point I want to make is that unless it is absolutely necessary, never miss a networking meeting. If you have a meeting scheduled and a client shows up at the last minute… invite them to go with you. In other words, having a client show up at the last minute is no excuse for missing a meeting. You have to think smart and fast.
This was not the first time I had invited a client to visit a networking meeting with me, but it was the series of events on that day and the twists and turns that happened that made it one of the most financially profitable invitations for both me and her. She booked me for a series of 7 networking seminars for her company and invited some of her special clients to attend at no fee (another one of my creative ideas). I later discovered that she made a big sale as a result of attending my meeting with me. After the 6th networking event in Chicago, one of her clients booked me for a networking seminar for their large insurance company – about 165 sales associates attended.
I know. They all don’t work out like that, but what if I had gone to the meeting without answering the phone as I was leaving my office? Literally thousands of dollars would have been down the drain. Last minute or not, invite your clients to your meetings (buy their breakfast or lunch), allow them to see how active you are in the networking community… especially if you think they or someone they know would be a good fit for the group you’re involved with. If they are attending for the first time, you should make sure that you introduce them to other people in your group who may need their product or service.
It’s important to get to the point where your networking is so integrated into your normal business activity that it no longer feels like something you must do, but that you truly enjoy doing, not only for you but for others as well.
A true networker is one who constantly seeks to form new relationships and strengthen them by helping others solve problems and achieve their goals. The next time you attend a business networking event, take along a referral partner, client or other contact from your own personal network.
How committed are you to your networking group?
Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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