Bypass Boring With These Networking Tips

| Mary Shores

Can I be honest?

I had a huge miss in my business recently. I mean, major loss of resources and time. The kicker? It was a completely avoidable mistake. Here’s what happened.  

I had a sales meeting with one of my employees recently. I found out she’s been working on getting this client for a year. She told me that it took her six months to convince the client they even needed services, and another six months working to convince them that they needed our services.

But, before we could fully convince them, another company from out of town swooped in and the client signed with them.

Bottom line: we missed out on a huge client – and wasted a ton of time and money in the process – because my team member forgot the most important lesson in business. Always Be Closing.

So, how did we move forward? We worked together to develop some strategies for the future, so my employee can go into a networking situation fully prepared to close with a client asap. And by the way, these strategies can work for you too, so you never have a nightmare story like this one.

What is Sales Strategies?

We need to start by understanding that all of sales and all of communications, for that matter, boils down to a strategy. And it’s absolutely vital that you have your follow up strategy and next moves planned before you even make that initial introduction. What does that look like? One of the biggest opportunities to book clients is at networking events. Let’s go through some foolproof strategies for making the most of a networking experience.

The 3 C’s

The first thing you need to be prepared for networking is that there are three kinds of people you’ll meet at any networking event. No matter who you are or what industry you’re in, there are three kinds of people. They’re Clients, Connectors, and Collaborators.

A client is a decision-maker. It’s someone who will pay you to get your services.

A connector is someone who can refer you to a client. They’ll help you make the necessary moves to get to a decision-maker.

Finally, a collaborator is someone you can work with to make money. Maybe you can collaborate on a project, or work out another kind of partnership.

Every single person you meet at an event will fit into one of those categories, so keep that in mind when meeting them, and plan out how you can move forward with that category in mind.

Fill In The Blank

Next, regardless of the category someone fits in, you need to get some info from them. Prepare a template email that you’ll send after the event. Have that ready to go before your event attend the event. That way, you know what questions to ask beforehand. You’re prepared to fill in the blanks during your conversation. After the event, just fill out the template with the information you’ve found during your time with the person. The way to win at networking is to go in with a plan.

Bypass Boring

By the way, when I say to make a template email to prepare your networking questions, I do not mean prepare boring questions. I don’t mean prepare to ask them how many accounts they have or their internal process. BO-RING. Never try to extract data from a potential client. Instead, find out their story. Get their pain points, and then you’ll be able to fill in the blanks with how your business can help – and they’ll be comfortable enough to actually be open to learning more about you.

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