If you are seduced by the shortcut of social media you might also believe that face to face networking has had its day.
After all, every contact you’d ever need is just a click or a phone call away…
My motivation to write this article came from a most brilliant post from Larry Levine & these words “Social is jet fuel for a conversation starter/relationship builder if you have the core foundation and skills around traditional outbound prospecting and relationship building”.
I agree 100% with Larry’s view that a strategy with the goal of improving your sales capability, that is supported by an effective social presence is the way to go.
To improve your sales capabilities you invest in your own development. But you also have to network, hustle & be in the right places.
So I thought I’d dig around a bit & see what I could find in support of our view.
What appears to be the case is that no matter how advanced our methods of communication have become, nothing seems to have come close to replicating the value of face to face contact.
- Eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking
- Seventy-two percent of people say their impressions are impacted by how someone appears and their handshake
- One in four don’t network at all
- 41% of networkers want to network more frequently but don’t have enough time
- 68% of entry-level professionals value face-to-face networking more than online
Its easy to find network events & when you decide to attend one what do you do to get yourself ready to make the most of that opportunity?
Below”The Magnificent 7″ tips to get the most out of Business Networking Events
1. Show up early.
At a networking event it’s a much better strategy to arrive early as being one of the first attendee you’ll have the choice of who to talk with as people won’t have settled into groups yet.
2. Ask easy questions.
To get the conversation started, simply walk up to a person or a group, and say, “May I join you” or “What brings you to this event?” Don’t forget to listen intently to their replies.
If you’re not a natural extrovert, you’re probably a very good listener and listening can be an excellent way to get to know a person.
3. Ditch the sales pitch.
Remember, networking is all about relationship building. You don’t need to do the hard sell within minutes of meeting a person.
If a potential customer does ask you about your product or service, be ready with an easy description of your company & be able to explain the value you’ve delivered to other companies.
4. Share your passion.
Win people over with your enthusiasm for your product or service.
Leave a lasting impression by telling a story about why you were inspired to create your company. Talking about what you enjoy is often contagious, too.
It’s a simple rule of engagement. By smiling, you’ll put your nervous self at ease, and you’ll also come across as warm and inviting to others.
Remember to smile before you enter the room, or before you start your next conversation.
6. Don’t hijack the conversation.
The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special.
Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss.
Be a conversationalist, not a talker.
7. Remember to follow up.
It’s often said that networking is where the conversation begins, not ends.
If you’ve had a great exchange, ask your conversation partner the best way to stay in touch.
Some people like email or phone; others prefer social networks like LinkedIn. Get in touch within 48 hours of the event.
Following these tips will improve your effectiveness at Business Networking Events. Good luck!
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Steve Knapp is the Founder and Owner of Steve Knapp Sales & Corporate Director in the Association of Professional Sales. With 30+ years of B2B successful sales, sales management and sales leadership experience. Steve created The 5 Principles of Sales Excellence & has used this to drive sustained sales performance in one of the most successful companies in the world. To discuss your sales requirements contact Steve on [email protected]