I could write a full list of suggestions for attending networking meetings for results, but I will focus on two at the very top of my list.
#1 Don’t forget the goal.
I have suggested to someone in my networking group that he connect with me two times, explaining his services may support my clients. Last week, I sat next to him at the meeting and reminded him (now three times) that we should talk because I may have some business for him. He said, “I know, I am just so busy.” I wanted to say that he should hire me to help him with time management – but I refrained.
If you truly do not have time to follow up with people who need your business, you are wasting time and money as well as possibly hurting your reputation. At this point, I would not use him because he probably would not serve my customers! I will find someone who understands the importance of service, which requires – you guessed it – follow-up.
According to IRC Sales Solutions, on average, only 2% of sales are made during the first point of contact. That means if you don’t follow up, even with a simple follow-up email, you’re missing out on potentially 98% of your sales.
Also, connect with your networking contacts, one on one, outside of the networking events, even if you don’t have mutual needs for each other’s services. Learn about each other. You would be surprised at how you can find little ways to support others when you take time to chat.
#2 Remember that most people don’t need what you are “selling” now.
A very small percentage of people will need your services now, some will need you later, some never. Therefore, if you want to get leads, your job is to be remembered – in a good way so they remember you when they need you! Be the person who wants to help others. Connect, and do what you can to stay in touch (without harassing of course). Don’t push your services, rather, service them! No one likes pushy salespeople, however, everyone loves people that help them.
Spend your time strategically, and with kindness. Make time for the important stuff, and the rest will come together.
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