At a recent networking meeting, a lady I'd never met before approached me. Here's a rough summary of how the conversation went.
LADY: "My name is Jane [not her real name]. I do workshops on [blah blah]. I have three of them coming up in the next month. They're great for people who want to [blah blah]. Here's my brochure and my card. I'm sure it would help you. And please refer anyone you know who might need this."
ME: Mouth hanging open (well sort of). Before I could respond, she walked on to the next person and I was left wondering what just happened. She didn't even ask my name!
Now I know this is an extreme example of what can happen. But I've experienced various degrees of this kind of "push networking". It appeared that she was only interested in "pushing" her services at me.
As a conscious business owner, who's so passionate in your desire to help people, it can be easy to fall into this trap. AND it's avoidable.
Here are some tips that'll help you make your networking activities more effective without turning people off.
- Develop a marketing mindset
Marketing (and sales) is the PROCESS of taking someone from knowing nothing about you to buying your service (or deciding they don't want it). In the course of the process, you build relationships.
- Set a clear intention
Is your intention to sell or to serve?
- Get aligned
Before you walk into the networking event, center yourself and get aligned with your source of energy and inspiration.
- Be prepared
Go with some questions that will help you engage people in a conversation. I keep a list of questions in the Notes app on my iPhone.
- Be willing to listen
Are you really listening and focused on the other person or are you sort-of-listening but your eyes are roaming around the room wondering how quickly you can move on to the next person?
- Ask questions
Be curious. Be interested in the other person. In your conversation, they may give you information that point out some areas where you could help.
- Follow up if appropriate
Most people won't hire you the first time they meet you. If they show interest in what you have to offer, of course you follow up. But no matter what happens, if you're meeting someone for the first time, it's always a nice gesture to send an email afterwards saying "nice to meet you". But you have to really mean it.
When someone contacts you, respond to them, even if they're not contacting you to hire you. How much time does it take to hit "reply" to an email and say "thank you for getting in touch!" or something similar. The few people (and it's VERY few!) who do this, stand out in my mind as professional, courteous and respectful.
As a holistic practitioner and soul-centered business owner, one of your characteristics is that you care about others and do NOT exhibit the in-your-face behavior of many business people. Try out one or more of the ideas above and see how they can support that approach.
Let me know how they work for you!
Copyright 2016 Maggie Dennison
Take advantage of a FREE "Find Your Marketing Path" evaluation session. Go here to find out more: