What do you expect when you walk into a business networking event?
- To make a sale? I hope not!
- To buy something from someone else? Nope!
- To drink and fill up on great food? Again, I hope not!
- To build relationships? Getting warmer!
- To find results-oriented networking partners! Bingo—you got it!
When you enter a networking room, you may find some of all of the above types. But, your expectations should be well thought out before you make the trip to the event. What do I mean?
Well, for starters, relationships are largely established and built upon through expectations! Surprised? Probably not, since you already know that most of the relationships you have in your life have expectations built into them—expectations that both parties understand. When those protocols are broken, a relationship finds itself on the rocks.
For the record, there are several expectations that could be listed, however for this post; I’m going to focus on one main one. Growing a business means you must be reaching out to new people all the time with your networking and in your networking. You will undoubtedly see people at an event that you already know, some you may have met recently, and some you don’t know at all. If you did your homework you will know who is in the room before you set foot inside. I encourage myself and others to make a commitment to yourself and others that you will meet 5 new people you didn’t know before you came. Additionally, you commit to get to know a bit about them personally before you move on to someone else.
The best way to ‘Know before you go’ is to ask the host for a list of attendees. They are usually very accommodating to your request because they want to see you succeed at their event also. It’s worth the ask. (I go into this area a lot more in my talk or business training session on the same topic. Contact me if you’re interested in knowing more.)
Now—when you meet these new friends; what do you expect from them?
- A phone call?
- A contract?
- To be hired for a job?
You probably won’t get any of those; however that does not have to spoil your satisfaction level of the event. Why?
Your satisfaction in a relationship is mostly up to you—and in a networking relationship it’s mostly your attitude toward networking that makes the difference, not the person. It’s NOT about actions—it’s about attitude; however your attitude is supported by actions (they show you’re genuinely interested). For example, if you meet someone at an event and say that you’d like to have coffee with them sometime; the very action of contacting them later to set up a time says volumes about your credibility.
Don’t hype up your expectations—we can have a tendency to do this. In my mastermind group, we have found that most business people are being unrealistic in what they expect out of the business and the employees. We end up having to work on these expectations first and then move forward with other items.
In a nutshell: When your focus is on how the other person’s experience is going with you—you’ll find that your expectations will be fully met and I dare say ‘exceeded.”
Bonus Tip: We all have expectations when we meet someone; it’s the real networker who will take the time to get to know someone when they meet—even if those initial expectations are not satisfied!
ONward, Bob Arnold
p.s.; if you’re wondering how to develop effective, results-oriented networking goals and expectations, contact me. I have several suggestions that may fit your needs.
p.p.s.; if you’re not a member of “Bob’s Pencil Points” blog, click here to join. These are periodic glimpses into the deeper world of networking that you don’t want to miss. One new connection for you is worth more than you can imagine.
…and that’s Just for Starters!
I hear it all the time when I talk with networkers—especially from those who are trying to become better at their business networking; “What techniques do you suggest I use to be better at networking?”
First, we should define what you mean by ‘…be better…’ I can assume things, but have been surprised when I simply ask what they mean by “Being better.” Let’s assume, for this post, you mean that you want to be more effective at connecting with those in the room who will provide you with more referrals (since that is what’s in our title).
Now—I’m going to surprise you! The first thing you can do to get more referrals is to not implement networking techniques at all!
My favorite talk when I’m brought into a company event to train employees, agents, or a sales force is to have them focus on their ‘mindset’—as this is where the real networking starts. It’s impossible to have success in your networking if all you focus on is technique. If your mind and heart are not in it, you won’t feel like you’ve had any success at all.
The three tips?
- Make sure you don’t treat the people in the room like a business—treat them like ‘people!’ People do business with people, not businesses. People hire you, not businesses. People have interests, not businesses.
- Don’t think about what you will be saying (or asking) next. In other words; quit focusing on yourself. Keep your focus on the person in front of you.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to meet everyone in the room—keep to 5 people that you spend some time with. As you do this and talk with them, listen to what they are saying and ask them follow up questions as the discussion progresses. Don’t ask ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ questions—ask questions that take a sentence or two to answer.
These three things are a mind-shift for you—especially since you’re so used to talking about yourself and your business.
Bonus Tip: Don’t think of yourself as a ‘Business’ either—you’re a person. Act like one!
ONward, Bob Arnold
p.s.; I’m available for short term or long term training of employees, agents, or a sales force on the key points of networking—all the way from beginning mindset to detailed, targeted networking which is where the 200%+ referrals hide.
p.p.s.; If you’re not on “Bob’s Pencil Points” blog yet, you can Sign Up here.