Planning your networking for 2016 – Part Two
Yesterday, I talked about the importance of planning your networking in 2016, so that it is in your diary, so that it actually happens (You’ll find it here – Planning your networking for 2016 – Part One).
Once you’re there, at a networking event, how you introduce yourself in the 40 or 60 seconds round is vitally important. Getting this right is a simple way to make a big difference to your networking results.
When I work with people at The Networking Retreat, we spend hours getting their networking introduction just right. Here are a few guidelines, which, if you implement them correctly, will have people queuing for a 121 meeting with you.
One of the most significant ways you can make a difference to your networking is by spending time preparing what you are going to say, and not just winging it. I hope these notes help.
Firstly, the introduction needs to be the start of the conversation and not the whole of the conversation. The point is to give people enough information that they want to find out more, and not too much that they feel they know everything about you. It’s a really fine balance. Remember to think about what they are buying, not what you’re selling. The two are often very different things.
Secondly, remember to talk about benefits and not features. In any other marketing material you produce for your business you would do so, and yet people seem to forget that their introduction is part of their marketing material. Before you prepare anything to say as part of your introduction, apply the “so what?” test. “We have been established since 2007” – “so what?” what does that actually mean to the listener, where is the benefit to them. “Our experience over nine years of dealing with businesses just like you, means we have a solution, no matter what your challenge is” is FAR closer to putting your words into terms which actually mean something to the listener.
Finally (at least for this short Email), help people to understand what they need to do next if they want to find out more. Invite people to ask you for a 121, or visit your website, or collect a leaflet. Add a call to action to your introduction, just as you would in all of your other marketing.
Is this helpful to you? Of course the 40 or 60 seconds is only the start of the story. It’s now your responsibility to follow up with the people you meet, and I’ll cover that tomorrow.
You know where to find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Let me know how your networking is working.