Networking at events can be exhilarating and profitable when you know the important elements to creating meaningful relationships.
For over 35 years, I have personally witnessed the best of the best and the absolutely worst networking possible. I have learned a tremendous amount of information in regards to the concept and technique of creating powerful connections.
You only have so much time… Think about it, if you go to a networking event that lasts four hours, you can only speak to a a limited amount of people. If each interaction lasts 20 minutes, that’s three people per hour. In the scenario I pose, that gives you about 12 people to speak to.
Think about it: That’s only 12 people in a four-hour event. That’s assuming there is no down time between each interaction. In reality, you probably only have nine to 10 people to connect with. The key to networking is time management. Spending time with someone who cannot further your objective is fruitless. So, begin by speaking to people who can actually help you further your business interests.
The issue that I observe is that most people who are at networking events are most concerned with talking about themselves. Why people do this is something I have never been able to understand. Remember, you only have time to speak with nine to 10 people. First, never speak about yourself, but rather ask questions of your connection. Your connection will tell you very quickly what they do, how they do it, and if there is a fit for a relationship to develop.
When I meet a new connection, I ask questions. This enables me to determine if this connection is aligned with my business model. Obviously, you would not spend time with a buyer of a BMW, if they are looking for a Toyota.
I spend a total of three minutes with a new prospect. I call this my three-minute rule. If after three minutes of asking pertinent questions I determine the prospect is a possible fit, I continue to do my fact finding. This concept allows me to spend my time wisely. Remember, people love to talk about themselves; they will provide you with all the information you need very quickly.
If after three minutes, I determine we aren’t going anywhere, I politely excuse myself, provide my business card and move on. So why do I say that networking is alluring? It’s sexy because when you cultivate a good prospect and develop a business relationship, where there is commerce, that is actually engaged, I find this thrilling. The reason it’s sexy is because you had a plan, then executed the model and money was exchanged in some form. How exciting is that?
Remember, if you want the thrill of excitement and want to do business: Ask questions, manage your time, and stay away from time wasters.
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