How to CRUSH Your Next Networking Event!

Last week I was talking to a new client about prospecting for leads at networking events. He informed me that he was going to so many networking events that he ran through over 300 business cards in two weeks. He was very proud of this accomplishment. When I asked him how many sales he had made out of 300 conversations he hung his head and said “ZERO”.
“That’s why I called you”, he explained. “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”

Unfortunately I hear this same story all too often. Often enough to know that you, the reader is probably struggling with this issue as well. I gave him 5 tips to CRUSH his next networking events and I want to share them with you as well.

1.) Define Your Goal

What is your goal when attending a network event? If it’s to close a sale you’re setting yourself up for failure. Of course our overall goal is to make a sale but the chances of you meeting someone and signing a deal all in the same day is highly unlikely regardless of how skilled you are. Your goal should be to find 1 or 2 people who could benefit from the problem that you solve. Once you find those people, your job is to start building a relationship with them.

2.) Know What You’re Looking For

Do you know who your ideal customer is? What problems they face and what conditions they are in? Knowing what you are looking for in a prospect is extremely vital to your success. This will shape who you talk to, what you say and even what type of questions you ask. If you know what you are looking for out of a prospect you will know the perfect prospect when you talk to them. More importantly, you’ll know who to not waste time with.

3.) Be Memorable

Almost everyone at networking events are playing from the same playbook. Smile, shake hands, pontificate about how great they are, say “we should meet some time”, pass out a business card and then move on. It’s the worst kind of speed dating. I want you to do the total opposite. Well, I still want you to smile and shake hands, but I don’t want you to talk about how great you are. No one will remember the person who did the same thing every other person had done during the event. To be memorable you have to zig when everyone else zags. Instead of talking about how great you are, become curious about the other person. Ask about their business and their journey and what types of problems they face. You’ll be remembered as the one who actually cares!

4.) Listen More, Talk Less

Attending a networking event is not about YOU! You’ve heard it said before that people don’t care about what you can do only what you can do for them! The great Zig Ziglar would say our prospects favorite radio station is WIIFM. “What’s In It For Me?” In order for you to crush your next networking event you have to become skilled at asking questions and resist the offer of wanting to talk about your own business. Even if someone asks you about your business, give them a short answer and immediately follow-up with a question of your own. If you find yourself doing all the talking I guarantee you’re doing it wrong.

5.) Always Follow Up

According to The Marketing Donut 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. According to Scripted 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. Are you getting the picture? Following up is extremely important for more reason that I could write about in one post. But, here’s a major point that most salespeople miss: The customer isn’t going to close themselves! This may seem silly that I even have to write this but the amount of salespeople that go around looking for “lay-down” sales is more than what you think. I don’t even like the term “lay-down”. The hunter that waits for his dinner to “lay down” and cook itself is a hungry hunter. The same goes for the salesperson. FOLLOW UP – period.