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Turning the Tables on Networking Belfast

Why not take another approach and see the networking event as an opportunity to meet some new people and find out more about them – with a view to maybe developing a long term relationship with them in the future.

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Turning the Tables on Networking

How many networking events have you attended where you’ve felt disappointed or concerned that you’ve not achieved the results you were looking for? Too many?

In this month’s Practical Marketing we suggest an approach that might just change all of that with a very simple change of approach.

Just imagine the last Chamber of Commerce or breakfast business club meeting you attended. Think first about your approach. Did you go along with a clear purpose and clear message – your 30 second introduction to your business (commonly know as your elevator speech or audio logo) that crammed in a few benefits, something memorable and let the person you were speaking to know you were available for business?

An experienced networker would certainly say ‘yes’ to all of these points (inexperienced networkers may want to follow the link at the end of this E-bulletin to more articles on the subject)

Now think about the approach that others were taking. Would it be fair to say that on reflection there was a bit of a mismatch – in that everyone was selling and no one was buying? Well there’s the trigger for you to do something different. Refocus and rethink. Why are you networking? If your immediate answer is ‘Because I want to promote my business, its product and services’ maybe you’re being too blunt and brutish – and certainly if that’s the attitude of everyone else in the room networking won’t be a pleasant experience.

Why not take another approach and see the networking event as an opportunity to meet some new people and find out more about them – with a view to maybe developing a long term relationship with them in the future. I almost wrote ‘doing business with them in the future’ but that’s not really what I mean – after all this implies a trade of some kind and you might have an effective business relationship with someone for years and never sell them anything or buy anything from them. HOW? I hear some of you ask.

Well, it’s simple – they are part of your network – they give you advice in areas where they have expertise. They ask for and follow your advice. They refer you to their clients (and vice versa) and they can help you find new, reliable suppliers.

The approach you take to develop this kind of relationship is not all about selling – it’s about asking, listening and learning.

The approach is simple but there are a few simple rules to follow;

  • Ask a few carefully chosen questions – the other party won’t want to feel like they’re being interrogated. The kind of non-threatening general questions you might try include ‘How did you get into training / the internet business?’ Perhaps followed up with: ‘What’s do you enjoy most about what you do at the moment?’
  • Listen really carefully to what they say – you’d be amazed how m...

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