Have you realized how important networking has been in starting and maintaining a successful business?
Whether its social networking sites (ie. Facebook) or a networking event (ie. local Chamber of Commerce); many marketers credit a large amount of their business relationships to their networking connections.
However, if networking is so important for connecting people in business; why are people more likely to use social networking sites than attend a local networking event?
It would seem that meeting people face to face and directly building a rapport with them would give you the upper hand on gaining more referrals and recommendations.
Well, truth is, most people feel uncomfortable meeting face to face to discuss anything.
Think about it.
When you have a pain that really requires an examination, how likely are you to go to the doctor to have them check you out in person. Or, how likely are you to visit a friend at their house when you could quickly call, text or email.
Statistics show that 40% of people socialize through networking sites rather than face to face interactions. 400 million tweets is the average number of tweets being sent in a day.
What does that tell you?
It tells me, that even though you crave relationships, connections and successful businesses; you lack the social skills & confidence it takes to make your desires a reality.
So, if you really want to build long-standing relationships and make your networking events productive and profitable, these three emotions will see you through any face to face interaction or networking event:
Ask questions. Answer questions. Give them something good to think about. Questions are powerful. You need to present your business as a solution to their problem. However, you won’t know their problem until you ask what they do and how it works. Ask “What does a typical day in your business look like?” or Ask “What everyday challenges do you notice that are causing you to lose time or money?” When you ask these kinds of questions, it increases their need to share and your need to understand how your businesses can partner up.
Know what you want to achieve from the networking event. Do you want more leads? Do you need more contacts? Do you need to hire someone? Do you need a specific service or type of professional? What service can you use in your business? What kind of businesses will instantly make a difference in your business? Don’t collect a business card unless you plan to contact them in the next 48 hours. The more you know about their business and the needs of your business, the more confident you’ll present yourself and your business.
Attend these events with the hope that these short interactions will create new challenges, new opportunities, and new ideas for business growth and innovation. Face to face networking events give you an advantage, in business, over other people because it allows business owners to attach an experience, a face and a name. People have longer memories of a person with a specific experience; unlike a text or email.