If you are shoving cards in people’s hands and talking all about yourself, you are doing networking all wrong. Here’s some gentle reminders that will change everything for you!
You are inconsistent with networking
You show up to events occasionally, appear aloof, take only a shallow interest in getting to know others, and are more interested in collecting cards than connecting.
You don’t follow up after a networking event
I’d venture a guess that there is a huge pile of cards sitting on your desk that you haven’t even touched. If this is true, you are missing a huge opportunity and wasting a ton of time attending networking events.
Sending a quick note to everyone you meet with an invitation to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook will keep you top of mind. This is not an opportunity to send over the full sales pitch…you are just starting a relationship.
You request and expect referrals right away
Business people with integrity who have spent years building up trust with clients and contacts will be wary if you ask them for referrals right away. You could be most valuable resource in the world, but building trust is still a process. Dedicate yourself to caring about the people you meet, offer to get to know them, find out how you can help and take action on that. When you give first (#givefirst), you are setting yourself up to receive abundantly.
You aren’t clear about what you do and what value you can add
Express what you do in a way that offers specific ways you can help a specific target client. This approach takes the pressure off the conversation and makes it clear what type of client would be a good fit for you. The person you are talking to may not fit that profile, but when you are clear, you paint a vivid picture of who you need to meet very quickly. You never know who might pop to mind!
You can get better at networking!
Ask yourself, “How can I get to know the community first so that referrals flow in more easily?” Get involved with a community organization and share your talents freely. Work on becoming more visible as a leader who cares about connecting and helping others and you will be appreciated and noticed.