Ask Marlo: Finding Contacts While Networking
** Photos by Tom Ward Photography. www.twardphoto.com
Question: “Marlo, I attend a lot of networking events and there are always so many folks to connect with I always feel like I walk away saying hi to a lot of folks but not really making rich contacts, what do I do?”
Here’s my take: Reframe your goal. Attend a networking event and focus on connecting with just three folks. These three GENUINE connections will have a much greater impact on your business than walking away with 20 business cards for people you really don’t know.
Connections are made by listening, so rather than flitting around and meeting everyone, focus on three people you would really like to get to know. This means when you walk away you should be able to share 3-5 things about them that you learned during your time together.
Take a moment and think, when was the last time this happened for you? While there are advantages to getting in front of as many people as possible, moving on before a connection is made can water down your impact.
Give this a try: In the car on your way to your next event ask yourself who you want to connect with in order to assist you in reaching your goals for the next month. What does that connection look like? Once you put yourself in the room start to qualify those folks that could match your determined goal.
Finally, the most important element to focusing on connections is to follow up! Your business does not benefit from networking by simply obtaining a business card and learning something about another person. These connections are the start of real relationships, and just like with friendships, romances, and familial relationships, they must be nurtured and supported. Following up by scheduling a coffee or lunch is a start to developing this new relationship.
When things aren’t working, sometimes the best thing to do is to go back to the basics. This is one of those basic strategies to keep you from feeling overwhelmed when attending events and to help you grow your network.
Call on me if you have any questions or if there is something I can assist you with.
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