You Can’t Shoot The Moose From The Lodge!!

Network your way to new customers. Remember – You can’t shoot the moose from the lodge! Get out there and meet somebody!

Despite my success with cold calling for new business, I have to admit that the best customers I’ve ever found have come by way of referral, or through someone I met at a networking, or speaking event. When I first took to the ‘networking circuit’, I faced the challenges of networking like most people do. The prevailing question being, “How do I get started”?
One of the greatest challenges for people attending networking events is their nervousness about approaching complete strangers in conversation. How do you introduce yourself? What do you say?
Believe it, or not, most everyone has difficulty talking about themselves, and what they do for a living. Instead, they talk about their product’s value, and keep conversation about themselves at a distance. What I found was that after a few introductions like this, I was bored of myself having said the same thing over and over! That led to my being quiet, and worse yet, becoming shy about approaching anyone else after having spoken to only a few people. That led to my abandoning networking meetings altogether, and I can only guess how much new business that cost me.
Having realized my shortcomings as a ‘networker’, I decided that I was going to introduce myself in as few words as possible in terms of my product & service, and turn over the scope of conversation to finding out what other people do. In other words, I decided to be more interested in OTHER people. I let them do most of the talking, and that made things easier for me. As for starting the conversation, here’s a script that’s worked for me.
Example:
Hello Pat (seeing their name on their name tag), I’m Pete Ekstrom w/ Dealbuilders”. “What brings you to this event”? “How did you hear about it”?

Even if the person you’re speaking with cracks a cheap joke and says that a car brought them to this event, you still have a conversation going, and a bit of a laugh too. That’s what called getting things off to a good start.
Following this brief introduction, now you can delve into the formalities of each other’s business, products, and whatever. But I would suggest that you spend more time talking about the people you do business with, or the types of companies you sell to. The product chatter just doesn’t make for good conversation. And for God’s sake, let the other person do most of the talking. And here’s a final tip for successful networking – Get there early. If you’re nervous about talking to strangers in a crowd, avoid the crowd, and get there early.
More to come about networking etiquette in future posts, so stay tuned…

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