It was Tuesday and Susan was dressed professionally for her weekly networking meeting. Her staging friend Nancy had told her about a group that met weekly by Susan’s home. This was Susan’s third visit to the group.To date, she hadn’t been successful in getting any leads.
As Susan entered the meeting room, she saw someone new and approached her excitedly. “Hello, I’m Susan Stratton of Staging Impressions and I do home staging. Do you know anyone who could use my services?” “I’m Barbara Smith with Rockland Security Systems,” said the newcomer. “ What does a home stager do?”
Susan replied,”I fix up homes to sell.” Barbara then asked, “Who would be a good client for you?” Susan thought a minute and replied, “Anyone who’s selling a home.” With that, Susan handed Barbara her business card and said, “We better sit down. The meeting is starting. After the meeting, Susan tried to continue the conversation with Barbara but she was already making friends with another networker. Dejectedly, Susan left the meeting and went home. She phoned Nancy and said, “Networking is not getting me anywhere.” “Really?” asked Nancy, “Tell me what happened today.” As Susan recounted the story, Nancy suddenly stopped her.
“Susan, that’s not how you network. Get a piece of paper and take these notes down for your next networking event.
1. Before you go to the networking event, make sure you have your elevator speech prepared telling people who you are; what you do;what makes your service different from your competitors ; how your services benefit the client; and who specifically is a good client for you. Practice it before you attend the meeting.
2. When it’s time to network in the meeting, approach someone, introduce yourself and ask for their name, company name and let them tell you what they do. If they hand you a business card, offer yours in return. Ask for another card so you have one to give a prospective client. On the other card you can write down what you have learned about them and their business. You will also have the opportunity to tell them about your business.
3. Try to meet at least three new contacts at each event. Pick one to follow-up with within 24 hours with an email asking for an opportunity to meet and get to know more about their business.
4. At your follow-up meeting, get to know more about the person’s hobbies, favorite restaurants, etc so you can find something in common to bond you. Believe me, it will make building a business relationship with that person much easier.
It will take time so you have to be patient. Took me about seven months to get my first job with a realtor in my networking group. The most important thing about networking is making the other person feel that you are listening to them and interested in their business. They have to know you, like you, and trust you.”
Susan thanked Nancy for the advice and assured her she would work on her networking skills. After she hung up, she started on her elevator speech. “Hi, I’m Susan Stratton of Staging Impressions and I help home sellers attract buyers by preparing their home for a quick and profitable sale. I’m also a certified paint color consultant which helps in selecting colors that sell. Do you know anyone who has just taken their home off the market because it didn’t sell?” I know I can …….”
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