10 Networking Commandments from Cobb Chamber
From Pamela Fennimore, Business Development Advisor
Networking 101 and Beyond – How can I help you?
I am going to tell you the strategies that I use to be the networker I am. It took me lots of events, lots of mistakes, and time with mentors along the way. Its all about relationships – how do you it? What do you do?
1.Thou Shall Have a Plan of Action
Know what you want to accomplish at the event. Set a goal to know that you want to make 5 to 10 new connections. This needs to be a mix of prospects and referral partners. Spend 20% of your time speaking with people you know and 80% of your time with people you do not know but want to get to know.
2.Thou Shall Be on Time!
Be there before the event starts and the last to leave. If you are present before every one gets there it gives you leverage to at least say hello one time to every one in the room
It also puts you in the position of looking like you are in charge; even if it’s your first time at the event……
3.Thou Shall become a Farmer
A farmer plants seeds, spreads fertilizer grows relationships, because people buy from people they know and like, your job is to sell yourself first, your product/services second.
How many of you have experienced the HUNTER? You are a hunter when you are cold calling and prospecting… Not at a Network event.
Has someone ever come up to you at an event and given you their sales pitch? How did it make you feel?
4.Thou Shall Question
Learn the art of answering questions with questions. If asked a question like, “What do you do?” Answer quickly, then ask a question; he who asks the questions, controls the conversation. Not he who does the most talking.
What are the questions to ask?
#1 How can I help you?
#2 Where else do you network?
#3 Who are the people you want to meet in your sphere of influence, who are your natural power partners?
#4 What companies do call on? What is your target market? Who do you speak to in the organizations you call on?
5.Thou Shall Listen
Listen to the answers, paraphrase for understanding, do 20% of the talking and 80% of the listening. BE IN THE MOMENT – MAKE EYE CONTACT LOOK ONLY AT THEM.
6.Thou shall have answers for the same questions you ask
“I was wondering if you can help me, I’m looking to meet XYZ company do you or do you know any one here that can help me?”
“I network at XYZ events; I’d love to have you attend with me some time.”
“My best source of referral partners come from ………do you have a relationship with any one in that field? I would love an introduction or can you invite me to meet them over coffee?”
Have a good 30, 60 second answer for what you do. Then Ask questions again. Some networking events require you to have an infomercial. State your name, company, 7 to 10 words on what your company does and what a good referral is for you, or what a good gate opener is for you.
What’s next? you’ve attended event, gotten cards. Sit in your car before you leave and make notes on the cards about the person, conversation things you remembered. This will help you with the follow up.
7.Thou Shall Build a Relationship
Do not sell at the event; networking is not selling its relational. Networking is about learning “how do you know who” and follow up. Business cards are not information for spamming emails – it’s about calling someone for a cup of coffee, it’s about making an appointment to meet after the event. You will lose credibility.
The call goes something like this….
“We met at Cobb Chamber Business After Hours last night. I was intrigued by….” (Something you wrote on their card or something they said)
“I would like to get to know you better, when are you available for coffee? I would like to learn more about your company to help find you referrals, you can learn more about my company and help me as well.” WIN WIN….
Keep in touch and soon you will find……
8.Thou shall be a resource a giver
Givers Gain, the more you give the more you will receive. You will find as you get to know more people and build your network you will become the GO TO person the Who do you know person? You will become the person that people gravitate to at events. The Connector.
This makes you an extra added value to your customers/clients that trust you; you will be able to refer others to them. This will set you apart from your competition.
9.Thou shall choose and attend events religiously
Visibility breeds Credibility. You will continue to build on relationships, find new ones.
10.Closing, What to Remember
Plan your activity.
Be on time.
Farm instead of hunt.
Answer questions and be prepared on what you want to say.
Sell yourself, not your goods and products.
Build relationships and follow up with your new relationships.
Be a resource for others.
Attendance is key.
Have confidence, be courteous, most of all make it fun and have a good time!