Networking: Convert Listeners to Friends Faster

The last time I was at a DeadReds Wake, I was approached by a lovely young lady who was adamant she knew me- yet I could neither remember her face nor name.
When she asked about my brothers, by name, I realised that we knew each other. Yet I had no memory of her whatsoever.
We talked for over 20 minutes. Much of it was about Murray Bridge High School, a short five year period of our lives that happened 25 years ago.

Sometimes when we meet people, particularly for the first tine, we find ourselves on the back foot or looking for a fast get-away.

Yet there is no need to run from strangers (whom we shall now call ‘Prospective Friends/Clients), especially when they are congregating around you. Why give-up the upper-hand? Yes, that’s right: When you have both a microphone and a semi-captive audience, you have an opportunity to shine, sell and speak about both product and service.

But let’s not jump the gun here. First you need to find common ground to entice these people to your ‘stall’.

Whilst many may not realise it, when any individual goes to a networking event, it’s remarkably similar to an expo of seemingly non relating products, all vying for attention and/or buyers.

The difference being here is that networkers are looking for common ground where two or more stalls can collaborate to find each other work.

So, back to determining how you will invite more people to your stall.

The process is surprisingly simple, yet so many entrepreneurs are not so good at this. Most just want to blurt out the product line before asking if anyone cares enough to listen.

Page 105 of “Flying Solo” gives a short list of methods to ‘accelerate this process’, and I have expanded on them slightly.

1. Get more details about the outcome of your work. Include outcomes with scenarios. It helps to be organised with your spiel – and ready for questions. Once people are truly listening, they’ll start having questions. Then the trick is to recognise loaded questions, questions that are hidden suggestions and those that are testing your knowledge.

2. Give examples of who ideally you work for/with and why. Remember to ask the same of your listeners. They aren’t only there for you, everyone has their own product-line to push/sell.

So rather than doing all the talking, take a breather to listen. Most discussion points will awaken memories. Entrepreneurs are generally filled with a million memories that only need one word to be remembered and recited as a 300-word essay.

Every opportunity has another opportunity waiting to happen.

3. Expose the real you, demonstrate your integrity and honesty. Aha, be prepared to tell people about yourself, not just your service or product. Most clients want a human, not a robot, behind the product – plus a real person to provide advice and answers.

Right, are you ready? Good. I’ll see you at DeadReds Wake #8, ready to talk up a storm.

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