Now, in today’s video, I want to go on a bit of a rant. Those that know me will probably say that I’m fairly good at ranting, but this particular one revolves around an event that I went to just over a week ago, and it’s a bit like trying to avoid making simple mistakes when you go to networking events or any business event at all.
So, here’s just 3 simple ways to improve your networking
1 – take business cards with you ALWAYS
Now, the first point I want to make is this: If you’re going to go to a business event, a networking event, or a trade show, or something like that, please, please, please take business cards with you. There’s nothing more frustrating than asking somebody, “Have you got a business card?” and they simply go, “Uh, no. I left them in the office,” or “No, I haven’t got around to having any printed,” or “I’m still waiting for them to be delivered”, which, I suppose, is a reasonably acceptable excuse, even though the fact that it can take just a couple of days to get business cards.
Anyway, by the by, the fact of the matter is people go to business events unprepared. This, to me — and this could just be me, I don’t know how you feel — this smacks of unprofessional, or lack of preparedness, or lack of forethought. And I always take the view that, If this is how you feel going to a networking event or a business event, or this is what you do and how you behave, how else do you behave in all other aspects of your business? Are there things that you overlook? Are there things that you just can’t bother to get around to? Do you forget to do stuff for clients in the same way that you forgot to pick up business cards before you went to a networking event? And I don’t like to feel that way, but in today’s society, today’s business environment, if you want to do well, you’ve got to stand out. Unfortunately, being forgetful is the wrong way to stand out.
So please, please, if you’re going to go to a networking event, be prepared. Prepare part of the day before if you have to, make sure everything you need to take with you is ready and good to go and is easy to find and pick up on the way out.
2 – Don’t just give me a list of what you can do when you stand up for your elevator speech
Another frustration, and I’ve spoken about this before, is people who stand up in networking groups, do their 60 seconds, and all they do is read off a list of things that they can do instead of trying to give me some idea of what it is for me, and what they can do. I’m really not interested in what you can do. All I’m interested in is what you can do for me. If I could spot something in it for me, then maybe I’ll buy. This applies to all marketing, but particularly, when doing 60 seconds. I know that standing in front of a group can be very, very nerve-wracking for some people, not everybody is as well-practised as me. To be honest, when I started, I was nervous too. But you just do it, and you do it, and you do it, and it becomes comfortable. But please, when you do your 60 seconds, just tell me what’s good about you and how you can help me rather than just tell me about what you can do.
3 – Engage your audience with a story of how you helped a client
But, also, something that stood out at this event I went to, there was a will writer there, and she told us a story about a woman who was writing up her will and was absolutely adamant that she didn’t want her daughter-in-law getting hold of any of her son’s inheritance. And it was an interesting story. But the fact of the matter is, it was an interesting story, and it has stood out, and I’ve remembered it. That’s something that I would urge you to do is to try and think of whether you can create some kind of story to make your offering that little bit more interesting.
I sometimes tell the story in my 60 seconds of one of my clients who started blogging, and a few months later, was on the first page of Google, and went on to do some work for a major hotel chain, which was worth a lot of money to her, all from writing a regular blog on her website. It’s a story because it stands out, but it also tells the audience that what we do actually works for our clients. If you take it on board and do it, it can genuinely work. But it stands out more than just standing up and saying, “Oh, we do website design, and we do graphic design, and we can do some SEO, and we’ll teach you how to blog, and we can help you with some marketing.” No, I told a story about somebody who made a success out of what we helped her to do. So go out there, tell some stories. Can you make your product, service that little bit more interesting, that little bit more engaging, or maybe something that will stick in the mind of the audience, just like this will writer did a couple of weeks ago? It was a fantastic story, and it showed just a slightly different angle as to what a will writer is certainly all about.
So hopefully these 3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Networking are useful, and just remember this: If you do not do anything with the information that I share nothing’s going to improve, or nothing’s going to change.