Very few people understand how to take the best advantage of networking events.
For the most part, everyone shows up, then it goes around the room and each person present gives their 30-second "elevator speech," and that's about all that happens at those meetings.
However, in working with my sales reps in my internet marketing & consulting business, we've found a real sure fire way to totally OWN networking events and flood yourself with insane amounts of business from them!
Before explaining how, I want to remind you of something I mentioned a while back in a previous email:
One day I needed to get a new website built for a business, and I put it out to bid online. Predictably, lots of web developers submitted their bids with a portfolio and lots of "why I'm great" type of sales puke.
One designer, however, did one better: She actually built a mock-up site for me, and sent me the link to it, along with her bid, and a note that said, "Since the site is already built, I can send it to you instantly upon acceptance of my bid."
She got the job!
Now here's how you can use the same principle at networking events:
First of all, find the right groups. The old days of overpriced "leads clubs" where you paid an exorbitant fee to participate are over. Meetup.com is where it's at now, and Chambers of Commerce to a lesser extent.
Go to Meetup and find as many networking groups as you can, preferably business owner & entrepreneur groups. Then get a copy of your local Business Journal and find Chamber events in the "Events" column.
The secret of Meetup groups are this: At each meeting, a list with full contact information of all members, along with all guests who showed up that day (you must RSVP ahead of time online to get on the list), is distributed to everyone who shows up. And at the local Chamber where I'm a member, everyone drops their business card in a bucket on the way in, and on the way out you get a photocopy sheet of everyone's card who attended.
This is your new prospect list!
Take your list, and create something of benefit, that's personally customized to each attendee, that you can bring back to the next meeting.
For example, in my internet consulting business, we run a full website analysis and Google ranking report for everyone. Then we come back to the next meeting, whether it's next week or next month (most Meetups are weekly), and hand out those customized reports to each attendee.
PEOPLE LOVE THIS!
You're accomplishing many things at once with this strategy:
1. You're giving them something of value that they can use, whether they buy from you or not.
2. You're practicing the habit of Going the Extra Mile, which puts the Law of Increasing Returns back of you.
3. You're differentiating yourself from other salespeople by practicing the "show me, don't tell me" rule of human nature, and you're approaching them in a way that's actually beneficial to THEM, versus an "elevator speech" or a cold call which only benefits you.
4. Best of all, you will get hot leads, many sales, and even more referrals by doing this!
Start thinking about what you can do to take advantage of this foolproof system of utilizing networking groups to maximum advantage. Use your imagination. Get creative. You will, no doubt, find a way.
Believe me, it WORKS! In fact it works so well that I've even had some new suits made up and get myself to as many networking Meetups as I possibly can!