Three ways to get better networking results

Today we have a special blog post from Jennifer Beale, entrepreneur, networker extraordinaire and organizer/host of the Summer’s Biggest Networking Bash! You can find more info about Jennifer’s endeavors at www.BizNetworkNews.com  and www.SummerNetworkingBash.com (get your CFIB discount with the promo code CFIB).

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Networking is one of the best (and fastest) ways to meet new clients, yet some find it challenging to walk into a room full of people and leave with leads that turn into new clients.

Here’s three effective ways to turn live business networking events into a constant source of new business.

  1. YOUR INTRODUCTION: Tell people what you do in one sentence. Forget the pitch or one-minute introduction you’ve memorized. It doesn’t sound natural and when you don’t sound natural, people will keep their guard up.

For example, I tell people I generate lots of leads for business owners in a short amount of time.

By stating it this way, I let the person I am talking to decide if they want to know more about me. If they don’t want to know more, they simply won’t ask about what I do.

For me to tell someone more about what I do, they first need to ask to hear more.

I listen for something like, “How do you do that?”

Create a one-sentence introduction that gets people asking for more information, then listen to what someone says next to determine their interest in learning more.

  • ASK GREAT QUESTIONS

There are three types of questions that keep a business conversation going in the right direction.

Greeting questions

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?

Connecting questions

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • Who would you like to meet today at this event?
  • Who would be an ideal client for you?

Qualifying questions

  • What do you want more of in your life?
  • What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Everyone you meet is looking to meet needs of some kind. These needs often fall into one of five categories:

  1. More money
  2. More time
  3. Better relationships
  4. Better health
  5. Looking good

And interestingly, whatever you sell also falls into one of those five categories.

Once someone has told you what they do, and you feel a connection, ask a qualifying question that will help you identify what they need. Can you help them meet this need?

If you can, set an appointment to talk further – either by phone or in person.

When you match what someone wants with what you do, you are more likely to convert them into a sale.

  • NETWORK OFTEN

There are lots of formal networking events to attend. For example, in Toronto, there are more than 500 networking events each month (you can find them at www.BizNetworkNews.com). You can also find events on Meetup.com, through search engines, and through people you meet at other events.

If you’re in Toronto on August 10, you can connect with over 1,000 business owners at www.SummerNetworkingBash.com.

You can also have great conversations any time you meet someone – whether it’s a social event or a grocery check-out line.

Achieving your sales goals can be the direct result of having the right number and type of conversations.

Today, commit to attending more networking events so you meet more people. Keep track of your numbers, and practice the art of great conversations by introducing yourself in a way that opens up a conversation, and then keep it going by asking the right questions.

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