If you’re one of the many business people who would rather go to the dentist than go networking, perhaps you might consider trying it again after reading this?
- Listen Be prepared to listen to what others are telling you. If you see a glazed expression on the face of the person you are talking to, bring the conversation to a graceful conclusion and move on. Focus on the person speaking to you, don’t use the time that they are speaking to see who else is in the room – how would you feel if they did that to you?
- Be concise about what you do If you can summarise what your business is about in 60 seconds, you’ll provide a ‘hook’ for the person you are speaking with to ask questions if they want to know more, but it also provides them with the opportunity to do the same and move on if that is what they want to do.
- Have some decorum Have your business cards at the ready, but don’t force your card on someone who doesn’t want it.
- No hard selling! Don’t hard sell to the people you meet. There is nothing worse than being cornered by a ’sales person’ with a metaphorical pen in one hand and a contract in the other! Anyway, selling doesn’t always come naturally to everyone so rest assured you don’t have to, it’s not expected and the business will come naturally over time.
- Invite people to talk to you If you see someone standing on their own, bring them into your conversation. They will feel more comfortable and will be grateful to you.
- Don’t trust your memory! As soon as it’s polite, make a note on the back of someone’s business card to remind you of any salient points – did you promise to contact them, send them some information? As soon as you are back at work action the promises you made. Business is based on trust, an early follow up can bring rewards.
- Meet someone new By all means, continue the relationship you have with people you know, but don’t spend all your time chatting to them; you won’t make any new contacts or identify new business opportunities by doing that.
- Be respectful Be aware of the impact you’re having on someone else. Watch their body language, don’t intrude on their personal space, use your own body language and tone of voice to make them feel comfortable.
- Be yourself Your friends and family like you for who you are; why should any business contact differ? Be natural and let your enthusiasm for your business product or service shine through!
Author – Janice Ross – Janice Ross Marketing