You will be viewed as a great conversationalist at networking events if you resist the urge to sell and get the other person to talk about themselves and their business.
One of the questions I ask nearly all new contacts is “What keeps you up at night?” This is a great way to get the contact to reveal their pain points. It is essential that you understand their problems before you try to pitch them a solution.
After each encounter, I take a few notes either on the back of their business card or on a separate notepad to capture the salient points of our conversation. I not only record the talking points, but I also assign a priority to the contact and any actions I agreed to provide.
I make it a goal to get quality information on about three contacts at every networking event, more if it is an Expo type of event. However, for many people, networking events stop here.
Did you know that after a networking event only about 20% of the people follow up on the contacts they made? It perplexes me why 80% of the people even attend these events if they do nothing with the information they gathered. Perhaps the 80% were more interested in selling than gathering information. Maybe they are hoping that their contact will be so impressed by their selling skills that they will contact them after the event. Therefore, you can instantly be in the top 20% simply by following up with the contacts you made.
When you get back to your office, do not resume business as usual. Consider the first few hours back at the office as part of the networking event. Break out the business cards and send each contact you made an email message.
The content of the email should NOT be “Glad we had a chance to meet.” Instead, do an online search for an article or website that addresses a possible solution to their problems and include this reference in the email. Give it a day or two and then search for them on LinkedIn. Send them a connection request. After contacting them three times (meeting, email, and LinkedIn), you will certainly be a memorable contact.
How do you handle networking events?
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