If your Networking activities are not yielding the results you seek, consider these three tactics:
- Collect resources, not cards; hunt for providers, not prospects. Consider yourself the hub of a wheel with your many contacts as spokes. It’s not about me; it’s about YOU. YOU are the person guiding the conversation. Make a connection with the other person as if they were a resource and someone whose expertise you can benefit from.
- Engage in pre-event marketing to build a welcoming committee. Before you attend the networking cocktail event held by an industry group, chamber of commerce or professional membership organization, view the host’s website. Make a list of the officers and committee chairs; locate their email addresses. Send each one a note one week in advance of the event and indicate your interest in joining the group.
When they respond to your email (or LinkedIn connection request), indicate that you will wear a green tie or red jacket so that you can find each other in the crowded room. At the event, learn all you can about the organization and why they joined. Ask to be introduced to another officer. Work the room to meet many of the leaders on your list. With this approach to a welcoming committee, you go from being a bystander to an insider.
- Ask Problem and Solution Questions. In conversation, find out the types of issues and situations the new contact grapples with and learn how they address and resolve these problems. Asking what the highlight of their year was gives the respondent an opportunity to brag about their success. People are always eager to talk about themselves and don’t have the opportunity to do so often enough. You will also learn how the person might align with your contacts as a solution provider or for future collaboration.
Network well, and build your business.