Networking for results, part 2

“You can make more friends (and clients) in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” — Dale Carnegie

This blog continues from the previous month.

So there you are at a networking event. You see several groups of people engaged in conversation. You feel awkward about breaking into those conversations. What to do, what to do?

Breaking in

You need to be graceful about this and not come on too strong. If you were listening to the conversation and know that you have something to contribute, any of the following would be a perfect point of entry:

  1. “I heard you mention something about …”
  2. “Did I hear you say you were from …”
  3. “I find it interesting that you were just speaking about …”
  4. “I thought I heard you say you were recently in New York …”

The point is that you do not have to be left out in the cold at these events. I often hear about the cliques that are hard to break into from folks who do not feel comfortable at these events. They are not hard to break into if you have something to add to the conversation. AND, if you are in sales, you should have something to add to the conversation!

Moving on

Sometimes it is even more challenging to move on to another person when you are tied up with someone else. How do you tell that someone else that they are not really important and that you would rather be talking to the person on the other side of the room? Remember, in some cases the only reason you came to this event was to connect with that one person on the other side of the room. Moving on requires a bit of diplomacy and finesse. Here are a couple approaches that should give you a good idea of how to do it:

  1. It’s been great talking to you. I’ve been trying to connect with Sue over there for quite a while. So please excuse me for a moment.”
  2. Bob, I really need to go over there and talk with Sam. It has been great chatting with you …”

The elevator speech

An elevator speech is a clear, brief message/commercial about you. The term originally suggested that it be done in about 30 seconds, the time of an elevator ride. We suggest that it be a little longer than 30 seconds and conversational, not like you’re delivering a commercial. The real purpose is to pique interest and make the other person want to learn more. It could follow this outline:

  1. State the general target you serve.
  2. Follow with a statement of needs you typically address.
  3. Reference the name of your organization.
  4. State the uniqueness of your value proposition.

Here is an example of the outline in action (a variation of which I have probably used hundreds of times):

Our primary target client is typically a company of 50 to 500 employees that truly believes its people are the key to their ultimate success. They are growth oriented and have very good people in place.

Challenges they often face are growing their top line, creating an atmosphere of engaged employees, building a dynamic leadership team, getting departments to work together as a team, AND developing a more strategic approach to their business.

By the way, I’m with Dale Carnegie Training and addressing those challenges is right in the center of our sweet spot.

Not only that, in many cases we deliver a direct, measurable return on investment for those clients. The self-financing systems we provide improve the client’s bottom line by building their team’s performance.

Final thought

There is absolutely no reason to not like networking. It is a social activity that can deliver economic results. And it is definitely a whole lot easier than cold calling.

Go out there and network for results!

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