Networking Strategy – Do YOU Have A Plan?

As I get ready to head out to the Be The Change Event in Florida, I’ve been talking to a few clients who have also been getting ready.

You’ve probably been to a (or many) networking events yourself. Do you come home with a stack of cards and the greatest of intentions of following up? Or perhaps you don’t come home with any cards because you didn’t network – because it seemed so daunting, so you just headed back to your room after the sessions were over?

Here are 5 strategies that I helped clients with this week as they prepared:

What are you going to say?

Keep it simple. Start with “hi.” Have a question ready that you would like to ask to learn more about your prospect, client, joint venture connections.

Be more interested than interesting.

Oh boy, this is probably a biggy. Intentionally listen and ask questions. You want to build a relationship. Build the Know, Like, Trust factor. People will spend more money with whom they have a relationship with than who they don’t. Just think about your own spending.

What is your offer or promotion?

Are you starting a new program? Do you have a freebie to give them? Are you looking for private clients? What is that goal for attending? Now, I’m going to caution you, don’t go blasting in to a networking event trying to sell your stuff. The intent of why I’m asking you to think about what your goal is, is so that you can then be on the lookout for who you should be connecting with and then following up with them after the event. IF the opportunity is right, then by all means it may be the opportune time to talk about a program you have at that time. Just remember how you would like to be treated if the shoe was on the other foot.

Have you scheduled time in your calendar?

And I don’t mean time for the event. I mean for following up!!! Seriously. I often hear people tell me that they get back from an event and they’re so overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what they learned, and overwhelmed by the stack of cards and they don’t have time to follow-up. So schedule it. Right now before you go. I already have 4 2-hour time slots booked for the week after Be The Change in my calendar to take care of follow-up. Schedule the time.

Have your client attraction tool ready and waiting.

This is my best tool in my tool kit. I always have it with me. It’s always free. It’s always ready to be used. And it never has to be delegated. It’s my SMILE! Yes, that’s right a smile. People are always telling me that they love my smile, that they can connect wtih me because I smile. I hadn’t really thought about it much before, but upon reflection, I realized that I’m most drawn to people who are smiling and laughing. I don’t naturally want to hang out with someone’s who pouting in the corner with their arms crossed. So use your smile.

Until then, Happy Networking!

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