Do Networking Meetings Make You Want to Break Out in Hives?
If so, you`re not alone. I can`t tell you how many times I`ve walked into a room thinking, "What the heck am I doing here?" and wanted to turn around and drive home. Then I walked out later saying, "That was really fun - and I got a couple good leads, too."If you think networking could be a valuable part of your marketing strategy it helps to get comfortable with the process and have realistic expectations about what can be achieved in an hour or two. Be ready. Dress well, shine your shoes, look good. Hair - check. Ladies - makeup? Good. Duck in the bathroom just before you go into the room and check for spinach between your teeth, stains, lintballs or anythng else that might be distracting or off-putting about your appearance.Have an elevator speech ready before you arrive. Here`s a simple formula. Say, "I help (target market) to (your ultimate benefit). This will help others understand your worth and value far beyond a job title like "software sales," "CPA" or "web designer."Make sure you have business cards with you ready to hand out should the need arise. Walk in with the attitude that it`s not the job of others to come to you - it`s your job to go to them. Remember Denise`s Marketing Rule #3: Stop spending your time and energy trying so hard to impress others - and instead spend your time and energy BEING IMPRESSED with others.Take a genuine interest in others. Ask them questions. Nod. Smile. Make affirmative, positive comments in reply to what they say. They`ll think your a fabulous conversationalist.Don`t try to see how many people you can meet and give your card to. That`s a waste of this precious time. Remember you`ll probably forget about them just as quickly as they forget you. Networking isn`t about quantity - its about quality. Seek instead to make maybe 2-3 good contacts with people who might be:Interested in the possibility doing business with youAble to refer you to others who might want to do business with youAble to refer you to other resources like a vendor you need to solve a problem. Interested in a possible joint venture that helps both of your promote your businessOne of many other possibilities...Get their business card. When you have someone else`s card you know you`re in the driver`s seat and can call or email them. If you give them your card (and don`t get one in reply) your taking the chance (and it`s a BIG chance) that they`ll forget you and not call you back. This is what often makes networking meetings a colossal waste of time. No follow up. Decide to be different.Call them the next day. Be willing to call several times to get through. Don`t just give up on one dial. Geez, anymore it takes me three times just to talk with my mom let alone a brand new contact. Be politely persistent.Give them a context for how you met. Say something like, "Hi Jim, this is Mary Smith. We met briefly at the __________ meeting last Thursday night and we talked about ____________. The purpose of my call today is that I wanted to follow up with you and..."If you go in with realistic expectations and make up your mind to go out of your way to meet and greet graciously - networking will become more fun and more fruitful for you.All the best,Denise MichaelsAuthor, "Testosterone-Free Marketing""Mentoring enterprising women to real business success"PS: Visit me online at http://www.MentoringwithDenise.com</A>
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