Business networking – Walking round with a face like a smacked arse

Would you want to do business with someone who was miserable all the time?
I’m sure as soon as I write this that you’ll come back and say “ah, but, when I go into my local branch of [INSERT CORPORATE SUPERMARKET] the lady on the till is ALWAYS miserable and I still buy from them”.
But small business is different to that. People really do business with people and if you go out of your way to make sure that people know that you don’t like them, then guess what? They will get the message and go find the people who do like them.
Business networking is about being true to yourself. In Brad Burton’s book “Life Business Just Got Easier” Brad says that you should be 100% you, 100% of the time” and I completely agree. But being in business, doing business with other people, is at least about being approachable.
A man came to the 4Networking stand at The Franchise Show in last week and, frankly, had a face like a smacked arse. He approached the stand because he was very keen to tell us that networking doesn’t work. He had been to a meeting, once (not 4Networking but he was very keen to tar us all with the same brush), and nobody had bought from him. This, he concluded, was irrefutable proof, that networking didn’t work.
He was half right actually. Networking was never going to work for him until he cheered up a bit, at least in public. He told me there had been lots wrong with the meeting he attended. There were the wrong sort of people there. The breakfast wasn’t to his complete satisfaction. Someone had the audacity to try to sell their services to him. All of which he apparently related to the organisers of the meeting in some detail.
I’m sure he was really pleased with himself that he had attended this show, and found someone who he could have a go at. My colleague, with more patience than me, tried to help him by asking what his business was, and how he had presented himself. His answers were monosyllabic at best. I shook his hand, smiled and wished him good luck with everything he does.
He’s going to need it.
Approaching networking meetings with positive intent forms part of most of the seminarsĀ and workshops I present. Go there with a smile, expect that you will receive something positive from the meeting. Be realistic with your expectations.
If you want to walk round with a face like a smacked arse, please don’t be surprised if people respond to you in exactly the same way.

“I implemented one more thing from the Retreat and it has resulted in a new client which gives me a positive ROI within 6 days”
Claire McTernan – Employee to Business Owner

“within two months I went from an average of one client per month from networking, to five clients”
Samantha Rollins, Trinity Accountants