Preparation Precedes Prosperity When It Comes To Networking Too
Networking events can be a powerful way to identify the people you need to connect with. We?ve all heard this before. But have you gone to business networking events not knowing anyone and not knowing what to do once you get there?
I admit I used to think these events were a waste of time. What I?ve learned is that I was wasting my time because I did not have a clear agenda of the questions to ask people and I let everyone else be in control. So of course when I left these events, the cards I had received, ended up in the trash.
So I thought I?d share a few of the right questions I gleaned from a masterful little book on networking by Mel Kaufmann.
At networking events, when you meet someone new, ask one and only one of these four innocuous questions to open the conversation:
1. How did you learn about this event?
2. Did you have any trouble finding parking?
3. Have you attended these events before?
4. What do you know of the speaker?
Do not elaborate on these questions. Do not get pulled into time-wasting social chatter. That?s not why you are there.
Now that the conversation is started, ask another question. Remember, if you are asking the questions, you are in control of the conversation. There are four questions you need to ask to determine if it?s worth your time to pursue meeting this person again outside this networking event. The four questions you need to ask are:
1. What does your firm do?
2. What?s your position with the firm?
3. Who?s your target market?
4. How long have you been there?
If the answers to those questions indicate that you should be doing business or that the other person?s target market fits one of your target markets, you can probe with a few more questions, such as:
1. How long have you been in business?
2. How many employees do you have?
3. How many offices do you have?
4. What?s the size of your territory?
If you attend networking events for business, then treat them as business. You should keep each conversation to 5 minutes at a maximum ? yes 5 minutes to ask and get answers to your questions. Remember, you?re in control of the conversation. Your purpose is to determine if you want to follow up with this person for a separate lunch/meeting. Your purpose at the event is NOT to find hot prospects; remember last week?s discussion of networking for relationships not transactions.
You can memorize these questions and use them mechanically. But to increase your net worth, don?t just commit these questions to memory, commit them to life.
If you?d like to learn more about this amazing little book by Mel Kaufmann, see my blog this week. Vision .
About the Author: Kerri Salls, MBA runs a virtual business school to train, consult and coach small business CEO's and entrepreneurs in 10 key strategies to make more profit in less time. Learn more at http://www.breakthrough-business-school.com/products.html or sign up for a free weekly newsletter at http://www.breakthrough-business-school.com/newsletter.shtml