Cidnee Stephen, a master Duct Tape Marketing consultant, gave an excellent presentation on power networking yesterday.
As with any marketing endeavor, there should be a strategy built before any tactic is executed, and B2B networking is no exception.
Follow the Money – Look for the Power Conferences
Rather than attend many events where only a portion of the other attendees are able to afford and value your products and services, aim high and invest in those events that attract successful business owners.
The common challenge for business owners is time, which means they are going to be very selective about the conferences they attend. The conferences offering the best content will attract the best attendees. These conferences come with a high price tag. However, the cost of attending the conference means cutting through the clutter and having an opportunity to mingle with the people whom you want to develop business relationships.
Follow the Money – Attend Charity Events at a VIP Level
While volunteering is wonderful, there is additional value in paying for the VIP seating at the dinner, auction, or gala. Again, the higher price of admission generally points to a higher level of commitment and personal success of the people seated around you. You will also be viewed as having a higher level of commitment and success.
Cidnee is a golfer and has blended her love of golf with charity golf events (again at the higher dollar level of participation). She wisely does not golf with friends, but looks to be added as a single to other groups so that she can meet and get to know new people. I know how charming she is, and it comes as no surprise that after 18 holes, her group is enthusiastically introducing her to friends and associates at the clubhouse following the match.
Look to Learn and Share with Genuine Curiosity
This is not the place for the hard sell, let me tell you all about what I can do for you approach. Step one is getting to know the people. Approach your interaction with sincere curiosity about them. Your turn will come. And as I’ve said before, it is a million times more effective to wait for the question “What is it that you do?” because when they ask the question, they are listening to your answer.
Make New Friends
It is very easy to drift towards friends and colleagues at these events. We know them. It’s comfortable to be around them. But the point of our participation is growing our network and we can’t grow the network unless we are meeting new people. So remind yourself to sit next to someone you don’t know and offer the ice breaker.
What are some tips you have for serious networking? Please share in the comments section.