Three Ways to Dramatically Improve your Networking Skills

(Includes the exact language I use to follow-up with prospects with amazing results!!!)

One of the best ways to increase your sphere of influence, generate more connections, relationships, and customers is to get out there and network the old fashion way. IN PERSON!

I get the opportunity (and actually go) to attend a fair amount of networking events so I’ve seen the really good networkers and plenty of people that give a cringe-worthy effort. I’ve taken my experience and I present to you three great networking tips for your next outing.

Treat everyone as if they have the potential to be your next million dollar customer.

Ever been in a situation where someone is super outgoing and friendly to you, and then when they realize that you can’t help their motives they’re gone quicker than your roommate's money when rent is due?

Don’t be that guy!

Take a genuine interest in who someone is and what they do.

Case in point...I was at an event where I had a great conversation with someone who could never use my resources and would not be a good prospect for me. There was literally no way he would ever be in a position to buy from me. Regardless, we had an awesome conversation, and I learned a lot about this person’s business and family. 

Fast forward a few hours later and that very person introduced me to his good friend who is a bullseye for my ideal customer. We’re now in the process of formalizing a working relationship that will be long-term and extremely profitable.

None of this would have happened if I would have only judged the initial contact based on what he can do for me.

Stop puking your sales pitch to everyone in the room.

If you could only see how annoying you sound as you drone on about your company and product….PS no one cares, they’re just being nice.

Try this instead...just ask questions. Be curious! People love talking about themselves so just start asking!

Ask them about their family, where they grew up, hobbies and shared experiences. Try to make a real personal connection not solely based on business. Chances are the person you’re talking to is going through the same life struggles as you are. Recognize that, and be real!

Networking is about making a personal connection, not pitching your business.

Networking is an opportunity to set the table, and get people to like you...very rarely is it the right time to close business on the spot...more on that below!

Unleash the Power of Follow-Up

It’s so simple but no one ever does it!

We go through all of the effort and time to attend a networking event, put ourselves in uncomfortable social situations and then we never use the contacts that we meet. Here’s what I like to do that helps me stand out from the crowd and has helped me develop some great relationships.

I follow up with a simple handwritten note (email can work to something is better than nothing) that I snail-mail them. All you have to say is the following:

Dear ________,

Great meeting you last week Tuesday at _______.  I really enjoyed talking to you about (insert personal detail) and I hope it’s successful! Enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to meeting again.

Best Regards,

Remember that in-person networking is not the time to close business. Networking is the time and opportunity for people to get to know you as a person so that when you do follow up you’ll have a relationship already established!

Be personable, be memorable, and follow up. You'll be amazed at the opportunities and connections that can be yours if you follow these easy steps.

If given the opportunity who would you rather do business with...someone you know and like or a complete cold calling stranger? Chances are you said, someone, you know and like!

So, just be likable, meet some people and be genuinely interested in them. Then follow-up with a nice card, seriously so few people do this it’s an easy way to stand out in a crowd. 

It’s that easy.

Now go shake some hands and have fun.

Mark Evans