Well, the main thing is that you do need to approach it with the right attitude! Don’t expect people to buy from you straightaway, particularly if you go in with a “sell, sell, sell” approach. It’s like going to Las Vegas and expecting to win BIG. It’s not going to happen on your first visit (probably). And it’s easy to go into ‘screensaver mode’ when you’re persistently faced with #BuyMyStuff “conversations”. No, thank you 🙂
In my brief, but regular networking experience over the last year, equal amounts of speaking and listening helps to develop good relationships. And being happy and friendly helps too.
A few more things about networking I have learned –
- It helps to be interested in the person you’re talking to, rather than thinking of a way to bring it back to you and what you have to offer – no big surprise. This tactic is quite transparent and will only put off the person you’re speaking to. Please don’t do it.
- People buy from people – Yes, of course they do, how else would they? More to the point, people will buy from people they meet, like, know and trust (thanks 4Networking). Going through these stages before you commit to buying seems natural. I can’t think of an occasion where I have bought anything from someone I don’t like or trust.
- You get more confident speaking to people in general and also to a wider group – The more you learn about people and what makes them tick, the more you learn about yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. And this can only be a good thing, so you notice them and address them.
- People want to know why you are doing what you’re doing – Your story about how you got to where you are now, goes a long way to meeting, liking, knowing and trusting you, so tell it when you can, but be sure to listen to others’ too.
- You can make some great friends – Even if you don’t end up working with colleagues directly, you could come across some good people and develop some long lasting friendships. This is something I hadn’t expected, but continues to be a happy surprise every week.
If you are considering a networking group or are a first time networker, I would recommend 4Networking. It’s a national group and you can choose from 5,000 meetings every week throughout the UK. If you are interested in attending or just having a chat about networking in general, comment below or ask me through the usual channels.