Do you know how to make the most of a networking event? What do you say at a party when someone asks, “What do you do?”
Tonight I heard an expert on these terrifying topics: Michael Hughes, an Ottawa entrepreneur who bills himself as Canada's Networking Guru. (And why not? He gets a lot of his material from my friend Tom Stoyan, Canada’s uncontested Sales Coach.)
Although some of his material is familiar, Michael did a good job. I thought some of his one-liners were great: Marketing is all about Visibility and Value. Sales is three things: Prospecting, Presenting and Following Up. Copy this stuff and paste it in your DayTimer.
I was working the video camera tonight (CAPS, the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, records all its meetings and lets members borrow the tapes, which I think is quote cool), so I couldn’t take many notes. His main points were pretty simple, though.
- Know who your target market is. (It’s surprising how many people are Not Clear on this One Little Thing.)
- Attend at least one networking event a week where members of your target market are likely to congregate. (Michael’s favorite is Ottawa’s Board of Trade, which he credits for enabling much of his success. In fact, he likes the board so much he’s about to become its president!)
- Develop personal relationships with people first. Don’t talk business. Talk about the Three Fs: Family, Friends and where are they From? (I like that he admitted that his third F does stretch it a bit.) If you start by forging personal relationships, he says, the business relationships that evolve will be much stronger.
- When you do get around to talking business, find out all you can about the person’s business, and what pains/needs he or she has. Find a way to create value. To seal the deal, ask the question, “How can I help?”
- If you identify a way you can help someone, do so as quickly as you can. That will separate you from the crowd – and create a feeling of appreciation that will stand you in good stead in future. The more favors you do for people, the more people you can call on in future.
You’ll find lots more good stuff from the Networking Guru at http://www.michaeljhughes.com/
I’ve already signed up for his weekly newsletter, and his site offers some useful free articles and checklists.