When it comes to growing your business, networking is key. It’s through networking that you make connections and get referrals—especially in the B2B world. Despite networking’s importance though, most people don’t know how to do it and when they do, they’re usually really bad at it. It doesn’t have to be that way though and here are some networking tips you can use to grow your business.
First, there is a lot of confusion about what networking is. Networking is not selling. It’s not about having a huge contact list. Networking is absolutely not about you. Boil it down and networking is the strategic process for building relationships for mutual gain—strategic and mutual being the key words here.
That’s right, networking strategic (not haphazard) and it has to be mutually beneficial (or no one will want to network with you).
Now, let’s look at improving your networking batting average—that is, your BAT (Behavior, Attitude, and Technique).
Behavior is about having a plan. When something is important to you—be it taking someone out on a simple date or putting together a multi-million dollar corporate merger , you make a plan for it. Yet, when it comes to networking, most people don’t make a plan. Making a plan is about being strategic.
The old advertising aphorism is appropriate here: “Creative without strategy is called ‘art.’ Creative with strategy is called ‘advertising.’” When it comes to networking, do you want to be a starving artist or a successful advertiser?
Your strategy will get you in the room with the right people you want to meet. Your attitude will determine what happens next.
Attitude is the way you approach networking. Do you have a mentality of scarcity or one of prosperity? A mentality of scarcity says “there isn’t enough to go around and so I must take all that I can.” You’ve probably met people like this—they’re the ones at the party who only talk about themselves or the ones at the business event who try to sell you a product before they even know you. This is deadly when it comes to networking.
Instead, advance with a mindset of abundance. Look for ways you can help people and where you can give, not take. Be generous! Give referrals and introductions and try to help people without trying to sell them something. If you can do that, then they’ll remember how you helped them and they’re more likely to buy from you in the future (or recommend you to their friends!), which brings us to networking techniques.
Techniques are the tactics (actions) by which you follow your networking strategy.
The first technique is to throw out the ABCs—that is the salesman’s mantra of Always Be Closing. Salesmen try to push you to say “yes” and it’s annoying. Instead, look for a “no” and in the long run, you’ll actually get more yeses. Going for the no is about making the person you are talking to comfortable. If they’re comfortable and can say “no,” then they are actually far more likely to say “yes.” Here’s what going for the no looks like: when you ask for something, say “…but you’re free to say no.”
The second technique is a revamp of your elevator speech. Elevator speeches have been around almost as long as elevators have, but most of these pitches are really just 30 seconds about how great a person or product is and why they are better than their competition. What you really want to do with your elevator spiel is to speak to a potential customer’s pain points. Solve a problem for them.
Let’s use the Snickers chocolate bar as an example here: Mars doesn’t try to sell Snickers bars by telling you that it tastes better than a Milky Way or listing a bunch of ingredients (product features). Instead, Mars speaks to their customers’ pain (“You’re not you when you’re hungry”) and promises that “Snickers satisfies” those hunger pangs.
If you don’t target your presentation around your customers’ pains, then you’re competing only on the basis of price and features. Speak your customers’ language instead and build an elevator speech around someone’s pain. They’re much more likely to listen. check out our videos at http://bit.ly/1fZlVh0 & http://bit.ly/1fZlVh0 .