Top 5 Mistakes in Networking


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Top 5 Mistakes in Networking

  1. 1. IndexIntroduction Page 3Mistake 1: Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail Page 4Mistake 2: Fail to Network, Plan to Fail Page 5Mistake 3: Never Sound Like Your Competition Page 6Mistake 4: Never Promote Your Services Page 7 Using Features and BenefitsMistake 5: Never Underestimate Page 8 Your Networking Characters
  2. 2. IntroductionI’ve failed a lot and often. I’d been networking for the last 8 years before I discoveredthese secrets to networking successfully. I’d actually gained many years of experiencerepeating the same mistakes over and over again. The lessons I learned aboutattracting attention, generating interest, social styles and instigating action formed thebasis of everything I did in networking.I knew the old activities I was using were not working but my management keptencouraging me to do the same things I’d always done and I was too blind to see theharm I was doing myself.Every month I struggled to pay the bills, the mortgage, the groceries, and every monthI kept myself upbeat and positive . But nothing improved. I moved from job to job tojob, and got through interviews because I was good at interviews.The old adage “You got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your Prince/Princess isabsolutely true. And business networking is just like a kissing frogs game. You got tomeet a lot of people before you find your handsome Princess/Princess - or, just asimportantly – you might find the person who you can give you tremendous amounts ofbusiness.I discovered a system of networking efficiently which transformed the way I networkand networking did not have to be a kissing frogs game.My results speak for them self because I now receive between 5 and 20 referrals everyday !My self esteem has gone through the roof and I have no fears when communicatingwith strangers for the fist time.I recognise that my self-concept determined how many people I would approach atsocial and business networking events and how many events, I had the courage to visit.I’m in control.Now, that is a much happier place to be rather than being tossed about by the tides ofthe market, the economy and my employers or customers. If you’re sick and tired ofbeing part of someone else’s plan for your future and your success, and you’re angryenough to do something about it, read on.To your SuccessClaude Bonte Page 3Page 3PP
  3. 3. Mistake 1: Fail to Plan, Plan to FailThe ProblemI pooh-poohed all attempts at setting goals. “They don’t work for me”, “I can’t be bothered”and actually I was right. They didn’t work for me and I became despondent because thegoals I did set when I tried to set them were doomed to failure. Why? Because theywere results based goals not behavioural goals and they were often set for me notwith me or by me.The FactsYou can only manage what you can control. I can’t control the people I meet atnetworking event passing business to me but I can manage the behaviours that getme to the networking event in the first place – the number of events I visit , the numberof people I approach and speak to, my method of following up, the number of face toface meetings I have after the event etc.Fail to have a plan of your own and you will always become part of someone else’splan.Are you a leader or a follower, a participant or a spectator ?A spectator is some one who will always be waiting at the touch line to see what actionthe leaders takes. They might say things like “I’ll watch that one or I’ll wait and see whathappens then I might get involved in the business.”A true leader doesn’t wait for someone else to make a decision before he makes acommitment, he takes action immediately and usually gets results faster than someonewho is always waiting for things to happen.So you may have to plan your week so that you can visit most of the key networkingevents and functions in your area and make the right connections.The Next StepsThe key here is to take action and do the behaviours. The law of averages tells us that ifwe visit enough good quality functions and events we will meet good qualitybusiness people to network with. Page 4
  4. 4. Mistake 2: Fail to Network, Plan to FailThe ProblemI’ve can’t say that I am always excited making polite conversation with people I don’tknow and have never met because I have no idea how they are going to respond. Thenumber 1 greatest fear is supposed to be walking into a room full of strangers, can youbelieve that ?We all hate doing these things but you don’t have to like them, you just have to dothem.The good news is you can become better at doing these things.The FactsFail to network and you are at the mercy of Lady Luck. Would you be comfortablegambling your house, your marriage and your children on the hope that Luck willprovide and you’ll always have enough customers at the end of your current project orsales to keep you afloat? Probably not! So why do so many of us do this? Feast tofamine to feast to famine. Over 80% of 2000 small business owners and salespeople I’veinterviewed were lucky to be 35% productive in any given year. That means for 65% ofthe year their time is taken up with navel gazing and waiting for the phone to ring.You’re probably not that ineffective, but if you are, you’re not networking effectively oroften enough.You probably take it for granted when you are referred business and probably thankfulbecause you haven’t had to go out and look for it.But how do you know that the referral source you are perusing is the best one.You could be putting lots of effort into your weakest referral source rather than yourstrongest and you will only know this by keeping a log of exactly where they are comingfrom when you get them.The Next StepsDo you know where your enquiries come from, Are you tracking them and keepinga log ?When you do make initial contact with a potential referral source, what are you goingto say to get them to refer business to you on a continuous basis? Page 5
  5. 5. Mistake 3: Never Sound Like Your CompetitionThe ProblemDo you find that business owners glaze over when you are telling them how good yourproducts and services are and all the other great services your company can provide ?Write down your “elevator pitch” i.e. your 1-minute introduction that tells your fellownetworkers/advocates why they should pass business to you . Now, imagine yourbusiness had folded or you were fired from your job and you’d been hired by a closecompetitor. Now write down their elevator pitch. Is it any different, really? “We helpcompanies like yours who want to improve <feature/benefit>, <feature/benefit>,<feature/benefit>.” Blah, blah, blah!.The FactsBusiness people have heard it all before, probably a dozen times and you just becomeanother supplier who offers exactly the same service.Never talk about yourself, your company or what you do. Always focus on yourcustomer, their problems and what they want.Mine might sound something like this.“<Name>, we help business owners and salespeople in small and medium sized servicebusinesses who are frustrated that their sales pipeline looks weak or empty andthey’re worried that if they don’t fix this soon, they’ll miss their targets and struggle topay their bills.“Others are afraid that they can’t get in front of qualified buyers, they spend lots of timenetworking only to be left with a pocketful of business cards or cold calling forappointments only to be told, I’m sorry we already buy this service from anothersource or the dreaded “Can you send me some information.” then they’ll get suckedinto a discussion about price prematurely and find themselves in a bidding war whereprice is the central issue and they’ll struggle to compete at a profit.“Typically, many are angry at the level of free consulting they give, finding that theirbest ideas are stolen by buyers who try to solve their problems by themselves or givetheir ideas to their competition …. and they get paid for your hard work.“I don’t suppose these are problems you ever face in your business?”Where is there a mention of my products or services? At what point do I talk aboutmyself, my company or my features and benefits?The Next StepsIn simple terms, if you keep the conversation focused on the person you are talking tohe or she will be much more interested in you because you have become a moreinteresting person just by actively listening to what the other person has to say. Page 6
  6. 6. Mistake 4: Never Promote Your Services Using Features and BenefitsThe ProblemIf you speak to business people at networking events, using your standard features andbenefits you will get drowned out in the wall of noise that surrounds them, won’t you?That’s never happened to you, has it ? Your message may be the most importantmessage they receive that day, that week, that month, that year or ever, but if you don’tget the air time and they don’t sit up and pay attention, it’s a waste of your time andeffort isn’t it? They won’t be passing you their business and they certainly wouldn’trecommend you to others.The FactsSo the answer is speak to their pain. Even if when they woke up, the sky was blue andthe sun shining and they had no idea they needed your product or service, if youspeak to their pains, you will grab their attention and they will be happy that you madethe effort to engage them into a conversation . You must never be desperate to tellyour fellow business people how good your company is and what magnificent productsand services you offer because quite frankly they don’t care. All they care about is, “Willit solve a problem they have ?” . You should leave them with questions NOT answers.They should want to know more not have their questions answered or what’s thepurpose of them wanting to meet you again.Focus on their pains and whose data are you using? Yours or theirs? Prospects neverargue with their own data but they’ll argue with yours until you’re blue in the face.Make your “elevator pitch” using your features and benefits and you might hear “wealready have that covered”, “we’re happy with our current provider”, “not interested”,“send me some information”, “the timing isn’t right”, “we have no budget for that at themoment”, “call me back in 6 months” …. But that’s never happened to you, has it?The Next StepsWhen you visit your next networking event, don’t be shy, ask questions which shows youare interested in others and as most people have an area of their personal orbusiness life they are unhappy about, you will be surprised what they tell you.The point is you are speaking to them about a problem area of their life which theycare about and building trust and rapport at the same time because you are puttingthe other person first. Page 7
  7. 7. Mistake 5 Never Underestimate Your Networking CharactersThe ProblemHave you ever been at a networking event, started speaking to someone and you findout that the person has a completely different agenda to yours.They may be shy and timid or very loud and you can’t get a word in edgeways, I don’tsuppose that’s ever happened to you, has it ?If you underestimate these networking characters and don’t fully understand theirmotives, it can make your future interaction with them very difficult.The FactsThe most common 3 characters you will encounter are the widget seller, the white knucklecruncher and the wall flower.a) Widget SellerThis person will stop at nothing to sell you some thing, “Want to buy my blue widgets,Want to buy my blue widgets” is all you will hear. This character is also known as “thenetworking pest” because he/she will hand out lots of business cards and take lots ofyours only to file them away and never follow up…If you meet this character at a networking event, one way to deal with the situation is toask for a business card. In an instant this will break the pattern and give you a chanceto speak !b) White Knuckle CruncherThis person is quite timid and will usually be holding a wine glass, which will becomehis/her best friend.The White Knuckle Cruncher will be clasping this glass so tightly that his/her knuckleswill turn white because of the pressure on the glass.If you move closer to the white knuckle cruncher and gently break into a conversationyou will find that he/ she gradually starts to open up.You may even like to separate the white knuckle cruncher from the wine glass bygently taking the glass away and asking if he/she would like another drink.c) The Wall FlowerThis character is quite shy and likes to hover around in the background close to thewall. The wall flower doesn’t like attention and being around lots of people.The best thing you can do, is to bring the wall flower into the forefront of the roomaway from the wall.As you shake hands and start talking, if you gently move into the centre of the roomthe wallflower will naturally follow so that you can engage in a conversation.The Next StepsThe next time you visit a networking event, please be mindful of the networkingcharacters and treat them accordingly. You will be surprised how the interactionbecomes more pleasurable when you know what is actually happening !Please complete the “Networking Assessment Form” by visiting and discover the challenges thathave been preventing you from getting more business through your networkingactivities. Page 8