If you’re anything like my clients, you often head out to networking events with some hesitation! Perhaps you’re an introvert and meeting new people is difficult. Perhaps you feel that everyone is just trying to sell their stuff. Or perhaps you just don’t know what to say.
I remember my early networking days …. I was horrible and I started to hate networking! I would come home from each event thinking about the mistakes I had just made.
However, each mistake led me to improve my networking skills.
Last week, I attended two networking events and saw some of those same mistakes that I had made in my early days! So, I thought it might be time to share how to avoid them!
Here are the top 5 mistakes & how you can avoid them.
- GOING UNPREPARED
I play a little game every time I attend a networking event. How many individuals can I meet that DON’T have business cards with them? I’ve heard excuses like:
- “I forgot to put them in my purse.”
- “I’m having new ones made.”
- “My old ones aren’t very nice.”
- “I ran out!”
If you made the effort to get dressed up and drive to a networking event, then why not make the time you spend there effective???
Come prepared!!! Not only with your business cards, but with a specific goal in mind!
- DISCUSSING YOUR PRICES
At a networking event (or any other event), If someone asks you about your prices, don’t make the mistake of discussing your prices while in public.
Instead …. Invite them to have a Strategy Call with you where you can learn more about what they actually need and if you are a good fit to work together.
Your answer to them can be something like …. “I can’t really answer your question about prices without knowing more information about what you require or understand your challenges. How about we have a Strategy Call? Would Wednesday at 1pm or Thursday at 9am work for you?”
If you quote a price at a networking call, you are actually doing them a disservice because you truly don’t know exactly what they require, and you won’t have the time to explain the value of what you offer.
If you quote a price – you can almost be certain that you won’t have a customer!
- ATTENDING WITH THE WRONG GOAL
Networking events are not where we ‘find’ clients. It’s where we start building relationships with individuals. For each networking event you attend, have a goal in mind. Perhaps it’s to meet one new person; perhaps it’s to meet a new supplier; perhaps it’s to find a speaking gig. When you have a specific goal in mind, it makes it so much easier to move around the room and to have meaningful conversations.
- RAMBLING DURING YOUR INTRODUCTION
Have you ever met someone at a networking event who tries to explain what they do, but they simply ramble on and on. Your eyes probably glazed over and you stopped listening after the first minute! I remember being told that this is often referred to as ‘vomiting’ on your prospects – you’re vomiting words – words about you; not about them.
I know that you might be super passionate about your process, program or service, but remember the idea of an initial meeting at networking is really just to generate curiosity about what you do and invite the person to share about what they do! Remember – it’s always about THEM.
A great analogy is to think of networking like dating. Perhaps you’ll remember when you first met your spouse. You captivated his attention with your smile across the room; perhaps you then invited him for coffee. This period of ‘dating’ is what networking is all about – it’s about developing relationships.
- CONFUSING THE AUDIENCE
At most networking events, you’re given a specified time to introduce yourself (often called an infomercial or introduction). This should be your ‘golden moment’ –not the time to confuse the audience; not the time to have a confusing message. A confused person never buys.
This past week, I saw more than one person stand up for their ‘golden moment’ and talk about two businesses that they have! Here’s the thing – by talking about two businesses, those listening don’t know how to refer you and can’t really remember what you’re an expert at.
Your ‘golden moment’ should be inspiring, memorable, repeatable! It should showcase WHY people should hire you. It should position you & your business as the ‘go-to-expert’ in your field! It should have a call to action.
Within 20 seconds, you should be able to explain simply and effectively what you do; what results you get and who you work with. That’s what I call your EXPERT ADVANTAGE.
Your Expert Advantage is what makes you appear different in the eyes of your dream customer – it sets you apart from the others in your industry – and it helps you position your brand as the obvious option for them to choose.
If you’d like help discovering your EXPERT ADVANTAGE – then let’s chat. Book a Growth Strategy Session with me here.
Once you narrow in on your EXPERT ADVANTAGE, you’ll attend networking events and be able to avoid these mistakes and much more likely to generate leads!
Until next time, BE Unstoppable!