Networking is definitely an investment. You need to put the effort in to get the results out later. However, unlike money, it is not a zero sum game. Multiple people can pull out more than they put in if they invested wisely. Make sure you deposit all you are able to and you will get better results. Don’t keep score, just keep helping and it will all turn out in your favor.
The Golden Rule of Networking: Don’t Keep Score. Great advice and the only way to approach networking events. If you worry about who owes you then you don’t get the point of networking. If you approach networking with a service attitude you will get more out of it. Relax, have fun, help out your fellow humans. It will increase your networking capital more than keeping score.
One of the requirements of networking is to meet people. In fact, that is the definition of networking. But where do you find people to network with? Here are 10 suggestions for locations to find potential clients. Make sure you aren’t just showing up to pitch, that’s sales. Network, meet, listen.
The introduction during a networking meeting is crucial. You want to get your information out there but don’t want to overwhelm people. Use this handy guide for crafting your intro. Use each element when you sense they are interested, you don’t have to do it all at once. A lot of times they will ask for the information if they are interested and you didn’t provide it yet. Make the first part amazing and the second part will be asked about.
The most interesting thing I find about networking is how people don’t know they need you until they meet you. “You do custom software, I always thought of making an app for my business”. “You clean the sidewalks outside of stores? Mine are getting grungy and I hate doing it myself”. These are conversations I have heard and watched deals close. Of course, the longer you network, the better known you are and the more trusted you become. It’s an investment and will pay off over time.
Another reason to put efforts into networking is getting advice. Every networking event I have been to I get asked questions about marketing or sales and I freely give out good information. Almost everyone I interact with at the meetings does the same. I see thousands of dollars worth of consulting being handed out because we know each other and we ask. It’s also how we get more business. I ask a financial adviser for information, it turns out to be great information, who do you think I am going to hire?
For maximum effect, you should spend about an hour a day networking for your business. Dr. Misner found that people who said “networking played a role” in their success spent an average of 6.3 hours a week participating in networking activities.Conversely, the people who claimed that “networking did NOT play a role” in their success spent 2 hours or less per week developing their network.
Elevator pitch, you must have one. The first 10 seconds of your pitch are the most crucial since that is all you may get, so make sure you grab attention. The first 10 second should have your name, company and what you do. “I’m Jason Porter with My Business Adviser and I help small businesses succeed.” Fast. Simple. Attention grabbing.
Now that they know who you are and what you do, the second part of your elevator pitch is why they care. “I do that by teaching small business owners how to market and grow their business” This lets them decide if they are interested in you working with them.
The last part of your elevator pitch is to prove it. You have told them what you do so you need to back up those words with a short example “for example one of my clients, Heidy, saw her marketing effects triple within two weeks of her coaching”
Now close it with a call to action, “I’d like to see if I can produce similar results for you, do you have 5 minutes so I can ask you a couple of questions?” Make sure you are specific on how much of their time you will take and when you want to meet. Future meetings are fine as long as you have set a specific appointment.
There it is, a step by step process for creating your elevator pitch. It is set up this way in case you don’t have time to do the whole thing, you get the most important part out first. Remember, practice, practice, practice. This works best when it flows.