tips for networking

Tips for Networking – Number 1

There are many business benefits to be gained by attending local networking events but only if you know how to make the most of these opportunities.   This is the first in a series of tips for networking designed to help you get more out of  this powerful small business marketing channel.   In this post I’ll show  you how to harness the power of your network to get lots of introductions to potential clients.

Stop shooting yourself in the foot

Many small business owners miss out on one a huge benefit of  networking.

They understand that the people in the room could introduce them to hundreds of potential clients, but they shoot themselves in the foot by making it way too difficult for the other people in the room to help them.

What’s the problem?

Most business networkers make their requests for introductions far too general!

Every time I meet someone new at a networking meeting I ask them “Who would you like to be connected too?” and I almost always get the answer “Anybody who needs… {fill in your product or service here}”

This general response makes it almost impossible for the other networkers to think of anyone who fits the bill because there are no selection criteria.  We all know hundreds of people and when somebody asks us to “Think of anybody”, nobody specific comes to mind.    I know because I used to make the same mistake myself.

I did it because

a) I didn’t have a clear idea of who my ideal customer was

b) I was afraid that, if I narrowed my request down to a specific company, job role or even industry sector, I’d miss out

So I’d effectively ask to be introduced to “anyone with a pulse” and then wonder why I never got any good leads or introductions.

Thankfully I asked another, more experienced, group member for some tips for networking and they pointed the reason for my failure. As a result of this feedback, I made one small change to my introduction request strategy and it made a huge difference to my business.  I only wished I’d picked up this networking tip a lot sooner.

Tips for networking – Be specific

Hopefully you’ve probably worked out the solution for yourself but let me spell it out clearly.

ALWAYS ASK TO BE INTRODUCED TO A SPECIFIC PERSON, COMPANY or SPECIALIST!

Here are some examples

“This month I am looking for introductions to…

  • The Sales director of B&Q
  • Accountancy practices in Portsmouth with more than three partners
  • Web designers in Portsmouth or Fareham
  • The owners of  IT training companies in Hampshire

Note: I wouldn’t ask for any more that two specific introduction types at any networking meeting.  Keep your request clear and simple.

How does it work?

Asking for a specific introduction like the examples above makes it easy for each of your fellow networkers to quickly sift through their mental database of contacts to see if a name”pops up.”

“But I want to target a number of different companies or specialities”

I hear this excuse all the time and I know I used to use it too before I learned the power of this tip for networking. Here’s the thing – You don’t always have to ask for the same type of introduction!

Each time you attend a networking event you can ask for introductions to a different type of person, company or specialism

Do your friends a favour – share this post on social media and generate some brownie points for yourself  in the process

1 Comment

  1. Lisa Braithwaite on 20/11/2008 at 02:11

    Great idea to shoot your video outside. Maybe I’ll try that. My home office is a little cluttered. And great networking tip as well!

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