Recently, I ended a contract with a client I was working with to coach sales teams and sell their products. Ready to get my name out there again, meet people and land some more biz, I knew I would have to lean on my network. So, I thought I would share my tips and tricks to becoming a Networking Genius! You know the saying, it’s all about who you know? Well, there is some truth to that, who you know is VERY important, but you have to be able to back it up with some skills.
Ready to Network like a boss?!
Get out there
Seems obvious, but it's a lot easier to meet people when you leave your house. Put your Netflix series on pause and go out. Ask your friends to join you for dinner or a drink and be out in public. Watch for events in your area that would be hosting your ideal client and go to them. My sister says, "but Melis, I don't have time or money to do that." You have to make the time, it will benefit you in the long run, your contacts are so valuable. Order a sparkling water, or flirt with someone, some of the events offer free things to drink and are completely free!
Be Yourself, Be Friendly
Once you are out of the house, be yourself. Unless you’re an asshole, than be friendly and work on that asshole thing. Talk to your bartender, or server and ask them about themselves, introduce yourself. SMILE. Be genuine, listen to what they are saying, what they are interested in, this is important. Be very nice and compassionate to everyone you meet. Treat everyone with equal respect. Look around, and smile at others, people are drawn to positive people. Positive attracts positive! If others smile back, go talk to them as well. Be confident in you. I find that people are always worried that they are interrupting, which you will know if you are, and then retreat gracefully. Most likely, you are not and the people are happy to meet new people as well. If they are out it means they want to be in public with new people.
What to Say
Okay, so you have their attention, what are you going to talk about to avoid the awkwardness of running out of things to say? First, I lead with, “Hi, I am Melissa!” along with a firm handshake. (Not too firm and DEFINITELY NOT soft!) Then, bring up points relevant to the situation. “Are you here for the pizza? I hear it’s amazing!” Ask them about what they love to do, what their passions are, where they are from. Getting people to talk about themselves is the easiest way to keep a conversation going. Find common ground, if you have both been to Morocco, might be worth discussing, or if you both love pizza, you've got something to work with. Ask about the topic: Best pizza in town? Best pizza they’ve ever had? You get the idea. Finding out what people are passionate about, I find is the best, it gets them excited and you can see what sets their soul on fire.
Get their details, with a clear intention. For example, I have been planning on going to Morocco, would I be able to connect with you to get some further details? What’s the best way to reach you? Call, Text or Email? I usually add them as a contact in my phone right away and put a description in the notes section. Set a reminder to follow up with them on the topic. It can be as simple as, I am hoping to meet more people in the City, do you mind if I reached out to you again?
So you forgot to get their details, or you wrote them down wrong. Don’t fret, the internet will help you. Search for them, see if you have any friends in common on Linkedin or Facebook, then send them a message. “Hi Farrah, it was great to meet you on Thursday, still dying to try that pizza place you suggested. What was the name of it again? Hope you are well, look forward to hearing from you.” You can provide your contact information in the note as well.
Make sure you follow up with them as you promised. It shows that you are a woman of your word. Networking is incredible and can be a lot of fun. You will be surprised how many of the new people you meet actually know each other or others you know. The six degrees of separation is really incredible. Once you are out there more, you will find it becomes easier to talk to people, have confidence and get invited to more unique events.
Based on the contacts I have made over the past five years living in Calgary, when word got out that I was ending a sales coaching contract with a company, four others reached out to me without me having to lift a finger. Pretty amazing what you can do with the power of your network!
If you are not confident in your skills or want to pick my brain on how you can become a Networking genius, give me a call. We can breakdown your fears and get you meeting contacts to help your business or career thrive.