Do you feel like networking is a time suck with no pay off?
Were you told to set up “coffee dates” to get to know your networking colleagues better, but find that extra time commitment is a waste of your time?
Ever wonder why networking works for other people, but not for you?
Sometimes, I tell my clients, you need to STOP working for Networking, and start getting Networking to work for YOU!
So how do you do that?
Know Your Audience (and objectives)
Although “everybody knows somebody” can be a helpful mantra when it comes to the infinite possibilities of networking, it doesn't exactly help you leverage your limited time.
Instead, understand that the most fruitful places for you to be networking (in person or online) are:
- Where your ideal clients congregate
- Where people who also serve your ideal clients hang out, or
- A mix of both
Essentially, you can connect with your ideal clients directly OR by partnering up with others who serve them in a complimentary way. (Think: Marketing Coach, Social Media Expert, Web Designer OR Naturopath, Massage therapist, Acupuncturist. Complimentary services that help support a shared audience).
Offer a Next Step
Feel a connection with an ideal client or partner? Ask them to take a next step! It's kind of like dating, if no one 'makes a move' after the initial meeting, the relationship is over. So, ask if you feel a connection!
Would your ideal client like to continue the conversation over the phone, and outside of the noisy networking room?
Would your potential partner like to meet up for coffee to discuss the possibilities?
Be Intentional (Set an Agenda)
When you have the follow up meeting with a potential client or partner, be intentional! Without a clear direction or purpose, this follow up meeting could lose its value.
Think: What would you need to discuss in each situation to be in the best position to help?
For a potential client, it might be really understanding the problem they are facing, to know if you can help them and whether you feel certain you can help, or you would rather recommend another resource.
For a potential partner, you've gotta feel jazzed up about who they are and what they do. If not, they are probably not the right referral partner for you. Not to mention, without understanding their ideal referral, it will be hard to send the right people their way.
Either way, be a leader and set an agenda and your time will not be wasted!
Potential Client Follow Up From Networking
Try this: “I'm so excited to follow up on our conversation from the networking event and have 30 minutes to get to know more about what is happening for you. I thought it'd be helpful to understand the [problem you solve] better, so I can see how I might support you. How does that sound, good? Okay, tell me more about what has been happening for you.”
Potential Partner Follow Up From Networking
Try this: “I'm so excited to follow up on our conversation from the networking event and have up to an hour to meet. I'd love to get to know you better and see how we might support each other. How does that sound? Anything else you'd like to go over during our meeting today?”
The exact wording is not as important as the way you set the tone by stating an agenda, and co-create the agenda should your meeting buddy want to discuss anything else. Make it your own as your authentic delivery is key.
Moral of the Story
If you want to have fruitful post-networking conversations, it is up to YOU to make them purposeful!
With this approach, I've had clients create relationships with new ideal clients, and Power Partners who have a whole audience of ideal clients to refer. It is beautiful to witness the magic that can happen when you liberate yourself from working for Networking and get Networking to work for YOU!
Enjoy this blog? Share with your friends!
Now, I want to know:
- What is your biggest insight from this post?
- How will turn inspiration into action, and make networking work for YOU?