Thought Leadership on Measurable Growth Strategies presented by Anavo Transformation Solutions LLC.
I hate networking
There. I said it.
However, just like you, It’s been drilled in my head that it must be done in order to grow my business. I will say, however, over the past 19 years, I’ve gotten quite comfortable with networking and make it work for me.
In general, networking has proven to be the most inauthentic process of business card shoving and horn tooting. Hence the reason most, like me, hate it. However, for me, networking has been the number two most effective marketing and income generating tool for my businesses. In fact, I just wrapped up a networking session that will yield a huge return on my time investment. Because networking is such a critical component of my business and what I coach other CEOs on, I wanted to share my spin on networking and how it has worked extremely well for me and my businesses (yes plural).
7 critical steps for effective networking
- Be extremely intentional about where you go to network. I, personally, WILL not go to events where my ideal clients are not expected to attend. If it’s less than an 80% chance that I will find my ideal clients there, you will not see me there.
- Be extremely intentional about how you work the room. In fact, I, personally, DON’T work the room. I strategically place myself in the center of the room and I will only strike conversation with those who happen to sit near or around me. That conversation is never about business unless THEY make it about business. I am usually cultivating a relationship through small talk. This in and of itself is captivating because people are expecting to be force fed a sales pitch. Nope, not from me. In fact, today’s event coordinator made it easy for me to break the ice with attendees. They mistakenly placed the wrong first name on everyone’s name card. So today, I was Michael Anderson not Lisa Anderson. Most complained about the mistake. I made fun with it and used it as a means to strike conversation with other attendees. Guess what? It worked.
- Strategically wear colors that are nonthreatening but eye catching that also happens to fit within your brand. For example, today I wore a simple black dress (nonthreatening) with an evergreen jacket (eye catching). This combination made me stand out from the crowd.
- Pay attention to the presentation and ask strategic questions. Most questions I ask, I know the answer to. However, I ask them in a way that draws attention and makes people go “hmmmm.” I also, in most cases, stand to ask my question so I can be seen. I also state my name and business name before I ask the question.
- Be a resource and help the presenter answer questions. No, I do not hijack the event. However, if there is a gap that I can fill, I respectfully fill it (once again, drawing attention).
- Stick around for a few moments after the event to speak directly with the presenters. I take a few moments to introduce myself to them and to make a strategic connection. Almost inevitably someone from the audience will come up to me while I am waiting around and say, “thank you for your input or for asking that question. It was really helpful. Sounds like you have some experience. What do you do?” Here is where my 30 second elevator pitch along with business card exchange comes in. I also provide them one more piece of advice that I know no one else in the room will provide (mostly because they are afraid to give out too much information). This is one more thing that makes me stand out.
- Follow up immediately with an email expressing how nice it was to meet them. I take that time to remind them of the piece of advice I provided during the event. I then wish them well and ask to keep in touch.
The steps I’ve shared usually lead to more conversation and ultimately a closed deal.
To sum it up, I HATE networking but it works for my businesses and has served to be the number two best revenue generator. I now make IT work for me instead of ME working for it.
Lisa Anderson and Anavo Transformation Solutions LLC is the creator and home of the P.U.L.S.E.™ Profit Method For Today’s CEO. Click the image below to learn how to find and close the gaps in your business.
Click here for more Thought Leadership from Anavo Transformation Solutions LLC.