Take the action!
Earlier this week I wrote a blog post (read it here) about the different types of people who attend networking events. One of the comments I received was about the necessity for follow-up. I could not agree more – it is a key element to making the investment of your time worthwhile.
Making a “connection” at a networking event is great but if you do not begin to cultivate that connection and turn it into a working relationship nothing will happen. Wherever you make your initial introduction – events, cold calling, direct marketing, etc. – it will be of little value unless you to continue to engage.
I think I will add a 5th group to my list of types of people at networking events:
The Winner – this person immediately followed up on the quick connections they made at the event. Why are they the winner? Because they are the ones turning those connections into relationships.
My Take: A five minute discussion at a networking event will not land you a big contract. Cultivating a relationship you started at a networking event just might. Take the action!
As a small business owner your time is so valuable. You are trying to wear 20 different on any given day. If you attend networking events one of your goals was to try and make more than one connection at a time. Don’t waste the time you spent! Follow Up. Make the most of it. Some connections may turn out to be nothing but with a wasted follow-up opportunity you will never know.
Just a thought…
Why do people attend networking events?
Usually because they are hoping to make some connections that can help their business.
I’ll be honest. These types of events are not my favorite way to spend 90 minutes. When I first became serious about building my business I made a decision to get over myself and start attending networking events anyway. I know it works and as a marketing coach I will not ask my clients to do something I am not willing to do myself. So with my apprehension in tow I jumped into the pool of networking. Each event I attend gets a little easier and I definitely get more energized when I leave having made some great connections.
I have noticed four types of people at networking events:
The Wallflower – this person is either shy or may not be really sure what they are doing there in the first place. They will not make the first move to engage in conversation.
My Take: Some of the best conversations I have had are with wallflowers. They are usually very interesting people with interesting careers – if only someone would draw them into conversation.
The Social Butterfly – this person’s goal seems to be to talk to everyone in the room and they usually accomplish their goal.
My Take: Since the purpose of a networking event is to meet people and make connections this can be an excellent approach. You cannot go into any depth by doing this but networking events are about starting the conversation.
The Trainee – this person is fairly new to the networking scene and is just learning how to concisely answer the question “what do you do?” Unless you are a totally polished and competent salesperson I think everyone goes through this phase – I know I did.
My Take: Give them grace and let them practice on you. You might just find a meaningful connection.
The Unapproachable –This person stands against the wall with arms crossed or sitting at a table with their head down. Their body language says “don’t bother me – I’m in the zone”.
My take: If you want to get “in the zone” do it in your office and stop taking up space that could be filled by someone who really wants to make a connection.
What is your take on networking groups? I have several blog readers from networking groups I belong to – please chime in and share your experience!
Looking for new connections…