This is the single most effective way to utilise your time at a networking event. Networking is a contact sport and the more members in your team the more contacts you can all make. But remember – there’s no ‘I’ in Team! And this is great news for the many of us who struggle to sell ourselves. So adopt these simple tips and take your networking outcomes to the stratosphere!
• Get organised and reap the rewards. Prior to events, sit down with 2-3 business associates and book into a Business in Heels or another business networking event. At this point, you just need to have faith in each other’s business abilities. Learn the specifics of your businesses, your ideal clients, clients you don’t want, the triggers that indicate there is a need for services, the language to use on behalf of each other, the stories that have built their businesses. Knowing these as you walk into an event will help you to create introductions or referral opportunities for your team.
• Knowing the details of each other’s businesses will help you to recommend others. Learn to identify the opportunities to create openings on your team’s behalf and tell their stories. Stories are a remarkably effective marketing tool and an easy way to present an opening for an introduction. After telling your version of their story, simply say something like, “But of course, talk to Sarah for the details of how she brought it all back on course. Really, she’s wonderful at what she does.” Once again, it’s a non-salesy method of making a genuine connection that may result in business for one of your team. And remember, your team mates are out there doing the same for you!
• Change your mindset – be the host! Ever hosted a party? You were probably in a bubbly, chatty mood keen to see your guests had someone of interest to engage with when they first arrived. Hosts want a convivial, harmonious atmosphere and this is achieved by facilitating meaningful introductions so people have things in common. In a business networking sense, the single most important nexus is a shared target market. So when you’re talking to people at events, become the host and introduce, say, the graphic designer to the website designer because their target market is the same. Specifically, for your team, knowing each other’s target markets will help you to identify who they should be connecting with.
• Engage in conversations on behalf of your team by listening for the cues that relate to their businesses. For example, if one of your team is a florist and the topic of weddings arises, say “… I know a florist who specialises in events and receptions. She has a wonderful reputation in the industry for working within budgets and reliably producing spectacular displays. Would you like to meet her?” It’s a simple, non-invasive way of prompting an introduction to a potential client for a member of your team. It demonstrates you have faith in your team member and transfers that faith to the person planning the wedding.
The key to success in this team approach is to put others’ interests ahead of your own while knowing they are doing the same for you. So find yourself some buddies and get out there and rock the business networking world. Your results will improve significantly.