Every single day people write, call, text or post to me that they cannot seem to make solid connections, and to nearly all of them I respond with, "Tell me what you said when you reached out." Did you know that the most typical response is, "Well I started telling them about myself and my business and my reason for connecting."
BINGO! Who cares?
I created "The Art of Active Networking" a global networking event that's different, for exactly this reason. Most networking does not work and ours do! WE'RE ALL ABOUT GIVING AND HELPING EACH OTHER DO BETTER.
I'd like to post a few tips here that should help you move past all the closed doors and un-replied emails:
1. When you meet someone don't say, "So what do you do for a living?" YAWN! NEVER ASK THAT QUESTION AGAIN!
2. With each person you meet, find something to compliment them on and ask them about their day. GETTING TO ACTUALLY KNOW SOMEONE SHOULD BE YOUR GOAL!
3. As they began to speak, LISTEN. You would be surprised how few people listen. This is because you can't wait for them to stop talking so you can start telling them about yourself and what you do. READ THE FIRST PARAGRAPH AGAIN!
4. As you listen, think of people you know in your network who you can connect them with. Do not think about what you can sell them, think about what you might do for them. WHO KNEW THIS WAS SO SIMPLE?
5. Make a genuine connection! Learning about them, what they love to do, where they live, if they have kids etc is important. But when you are at a networking event you should be collecting tons of cards, meeting lots of people and not "wasting" time one one person right? WRONG! ONE PERSON CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. IT'S NOT A NUMBERS GAME.
6. After you have talked with someone, make the point to walk them over and introduce them to someone else. If any of us had any idea how hard it is for people to approach a stranger and strike up a conversation we might never leave our house. That's fortunately NOT my problem. I have never met a stranger yet, and I am comfortable with people. SO BE A GIVING CONNECTOR!
7. This relates to the point above. Take those insecurities, those stories that you are shy, intimidated, that you are just not a good connector and stick them in the back of your closet. Too often we get stuck in our stories of who we think we are. And most of the time we are wrong. Most of the time we are cool, awesome and likable. Trust me no one is worrying about all that. They are too worried about how they are being perceived too! YOU SHOWED UP, SO WRAP A SMILE ON THAT MUG AND SAY HEY! NO ONE IS JUDGING YOU.
8. OK Mark, fair enough, I get it! But when can I sell myself? Doing all of the above IS selling yourself, it is telling people you meet so much more about who you are. It is letting them get to know you, to feel comfortable with you, and to open up. Look, not everyone you meet is about the "Sale". That's you deciding what you want. And I often say, "If you come from need and want, you'll never get what you need or what you want!" If instead you are kind, practice giving and helping others, the sale will make itself someday, because you become the person others want to know, like and work with. REMEMBER, WE WORK WITH WHO WE KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST. SEE? YOU ALREADY SOLD YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO!
9. This may be one of the most important things on this list and the number one mistake people make. FOLLOWUP! You just met this awesome person, you took their card, you threw your card at them. But over 70 percent of people who meet someone at a networking event, NEVER follow up! WHAT? WHY? Oh your busy? Uninterested? Or are you sorting them into the "I need them or I don't need them bucket?" THERE YOU GO. SEE? YOU ARE STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW YOU CAN SELL THEM > STOP IT. JUST FOLLOW UP!
10. Finally, build a relationship! Any relationship that is not necessarily based in selling or business. That will come if you both want it but, invite them to chat, to coffee, to lunch, to an event. Of all you discussed take it to the next level, thinking of how you might help them do a little better with whatever you talked about. IT'S SO SIMPLE AND BUSINESS WILL COME IF THE FIT IS RIGHT!
NOW I WANT TO CHALLENGE YOU!
I've created something called GIVE 4! Give 4 is about giving 4 hours a week to others in one or all of the following 4 ways. GIVE of your time, volunteering for a non-profit or helping a neighbor with something. GIVE of your ideas and talent, you're smart, so get out there and use your natural ideas and talents to help someone else. GIVE of your money, 1 dollar, 10 dollars, pay it forward, pay the toll for someone or guy the person behind you a coffee, or donate to a non-profit! And finally, GIVE of your referrals, we all have networks and we all know people who need referrals, who can you refer? BY PRACTICING GIVE 4, YOU WILL SEE A SHIFT IN YOUR LIFE AND IN YOUR NETWORKING!
Make 2015 amazing, come to our events nationwide and meet my extraordinary network of over 135,000 people around the globe. Get active in my free groups and post up what you need also for free. If you would like to see "The Art of Active Networking" in your town, let's certainly chat.
Remember, the power of us all working together is so much greater than anything we can accomplish on our own!
BE WELL, BE CREATIVE, BE GREAT!
Mark E. Sackett 415-602-9500
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