1. Effective Networking


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  • Today we’re going to discuss something that we’ve touched on very little. INTRODUCTION Networking is about contact – contact with people. A primary business activity and skill that’s very much worth developing. In fact, it’s a necessity. And, like all other parts of the sales process, it can be distilled to a few very authentic fundamentals.
  • [ Ladies & Gentleman, Team, Ladies, Gentlemen ] networking is about contact – contact with people. It’s an exciting activity and an extremely useful skill set to develop. With the solid preparation we’ve discussed here [ today, over the last hour, over these few days ], the… statements questions preparation planning and by remembering to…
  • OPTIONAL SLIDE: LISTING SPECIFIC UPCOMING EVENTS In the upcoming year, we have networking events, auto shows, chamber of commerce activities and networking opportunities where if we plan and prepare well, we should be able to fully maximize the value of the events.
  • Today we’re going to review the basics of networking by examining what we can do… well before the event what we should do just before the event what we should do at the event and what we should do after an event Let’s begin.
  • All networking events are about making contact and connections with people. And to make as many quality contacts with people as possible in a networking environment, it’s of primary importance to plan and prepare well. It’s a win-win scenario in that you will enjoy the experience much more as will those with whom you come in contact. To fully maximize your time at an event and stay on course in any discussion, it’s helpful if you keep in mind that you are to… approach people proactively engage them learn about them and exit and move on The key to making this [ work, flow ] nicely is preparation well before the event.
  • SECTION 1: WELL BEFORE THE EVENT For all networking events, there are five items that can and should be solidly prepared. While any particular event might have variable versions of these five items, it’s these that we want to be sure we’ve prepared in writing and practiced well before an event. a personal introduction general statements or questions that will help initiate a conversation with someone open-ended questions to engage and learn more about someone our value statements and exit statements The simplest of these items is the personal introduction.
  • SECTION 1: WELL BEFORE THE EVENT: PERSONAL INTRODUCTION Nothing very complicated here. Just be sure the introduction is appropriate to the event and you use the person’s name with whom you’re making contact. “ Hi Susan. I’m [ SALES NAME ] with [ COMPANY NAME, DIVISION, DISTRICT, ETC .]”
  • SECTION 1: WELL BEFORE THE EVENT: GENERAL INITIATING QUESTIONS/ STATEMENTS Next and more important is the preparation of at least three statements or questions that create the possibility for discussion. These can be simple as well. The challenge is making them as “real” as possible – to minimize the canned sound. Most of the people at an event will understand the “cliché” initiating statements or questions because they’re in the same setting. The key is to quickly move to your more engaging open-ended questions. [ OPTIONAL : REMOVE THE SAMPLE QUESTION AND ASK FOR IDEAS FROM PARTICIPANTS (What ideas for questions or statements do you have? OR Let’s see if we can come up with some ideas together now.) OR ADD MORE SAMPLES TO THE SLIDE. ]
  • SECTION 1: WELL BEFORE THE EVENT: OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS One of the most powerful tools for engaging someone in a discussion is the open-ended question. An open-ended question encourages an in-depth response that can help you in your networking efforts in so many ways. With an open-ended question and great listening you can learn tremendous details about a person, their company and their situations and establish wonderful rapport and trust. In your networking guide, I’ve included a list of helpful open-ended questions for the sales process. Most of them are for an actual sales effort but some can be used for networking. Before you go into any networking event, be sure to have a minimum of three open-ended questions that you feel will work for you. [ OPTIONAL : ASK FOR IDEAS FROM PARTICIPANTS (Can someone give me an open-ended question that might fit at [upcoming event]? OR Let’s see if we can come up with some ideas together now.) AND/ OR WRITE THEM DOWN ON A WHITE BOARD AS GIVEN. ]
  • SECTION 1: WELL BEFORE THE EVENT: VALUE STATEMENTS When networking, it’s inevitable that people will ask one another what they do or “what’s new in your world”. Be prepared with at least two true value statements that are specific, clear & quick just in case the opportunity arises or it’s appropriate for you to mention what we [ sell, do ]. Anything that isn’t clear, specific and quick will likely not grab the attention of the person across from you and subsequently will be a wasted opportunity. Think about when names are exchanged and how many times people forget those. Imagine the impact of a long and vague value statement. [ CHOOSE BETWEEN : ASKING FOR IDEAS FROM PARTICIPANTS FOR VALUE STATEMENTS OR ILLUSTRATING ALREADY PREPARED VALUE STATEMENTS FOR USE. ]
  • SECTION 1: WELL BEFORE THE EVENT: EXIT STATEMENTS Finally, you want to be able to exit a discussion gracefully and keep networking. You’ll have two likely scenarios for which you’ll want to prepare. those where you’ll want to meet or talk with the person again and those where you won’t see a great deal of value for either party and subsequently will simply want to end the conversation politely. You should have a minimum of one exit statement for each of the two scenarios. [ OPTIONAL : ASK FOR IDEAS FROM PARTICIPANTS (Can someone give me an example statement that might fit for [when you see value, when you don’t see value]? OR Let’s see if we can come up with some ideas together now.) AND/ OR WRITE THEM DOWN ON A WHITE BOARD AS GIVEN OR SIMPLY REVIEW EXAMPLES IN THE NETWORKING GUIDE. ]
  • SECTION 2: JUST BEFORE THE EVENT Now let’s move to just before the event. “Just before the event” preparation is started within a few [ days, weeks ] of the event and then literally a few moments before you enter the event to participate. Here you will… set clear objectives & goals for the event and prepare your attitude
  • SECTION 2: JUST BEFORE THE EVENT: OBJECTIVES & GOALS In setting [ your, our] networking goals for an event you’ll want to create three targets. the specific people with whom you want to meet or talk the number of discussions and a target number of post-event meetings to schedule Without goals and objectives, sometimes people have a tendency to get diverted and miss great networking opportunities that would otherwise be seized. These will goals will help you remain focused on pulling as much value from the event as possible. [ OPTIONAL : YOU MAY HAVE AN ADDITIONAL OBJECTIVE OR GOAL TO ADD HERE THAT IS SPECIFIC TO THE EVENT OR YOUR INDUSTRY. IF SO, YOU MAY WANT TO INCLUDE IT OR ASK THE GROUP IF THEY HAVE ANY IDEAS FOR OTHER GOALS (Does anyone have another objective or goal they feel might be helpful to create in addition to these). ]
  • SECTION 2: JUST BEFORE THE EVENT: ATTITUDE PREPARATION The day of the event or even moments before the event, stop and prepare yourself. Prepare your attitude. We’ve all attended events where people don’t take full advantage of the opportunities because of their attitudes. I’m suggesting we be proactive in our attitude preparation by committing to be completely positive while attending the event, avoiding cynicism regardless of [ attendee traffic levels, less than compelling presentations, etc .] and making sure that we learn as much as possible about the people with whom we connect. This attitude preparation alone can make the difference between a great [ show, event, meeting ] and a mediocre or even poor [ show, event, meeting ]. [ OPTIONAL : ASK FOR IDEAS FROM PARTICIPANTS ON OTHER ATTITUDE PREPARATION NEEDS THAT MIGHT BE SPECIFIC TO YOUR WORLD (From an attitude preparation standpoint, does any one have any additional thoughts? OR Let’s see if we can come up with some additional ideas now that might be helpful in preparing for a [show, event, meeting].) AND/ OR WRITE THEM DOWN ON A WHITE BOARD AS GIVEN. ]
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT Now it’s time for us to put all of [ the, our ] preparation to work at the event. While at the event [ you, we ] want to be sure to focus on six specific issues. We want to… proactively initiate discussions send the right message physically ask open-ended questions give undivided attention deliver value statements maintain a positive networking attitude through the end of the event
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT: PROACTIVELY INITIATE DISCUSSIONS In some cases, people are hesitant to initiate conversations at events and as a result, can miss opportunities to make connections. Our preparation work, the material we discussed in the “well before the event” section of this session, can make proactively initiating conversations much more enjoyable and much more effective. The key is to commit to initiating the discussions rather than waiting for others to initiate them with [ you, us ]. You’ll have a “specific number of discussions goal” to hit so you’ll need to be proactive. Your earlier preparation will make this much easier.
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT: RIGHT PHYSICAL MESSAGE While talking with people be sure you are facing them completely, smiling as much as possible - never frowning, and never presenting yourself as apathetic to their presence or to the show. Be energetic. These are the three fundamental pieces to sending a solid physical message to someone with whom you engage. And as we discussed earlier, truly engaging someone is done by…
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT: ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS … asking open-ended questions. However, simply asking these questions doesn’t guarantee a great result. [ You’ll, We’ll ] need to commit to listening completely, to listening without the intent to respond immediately or show your extensive product or industry knowledge. Remember, when [ you’re, we’re ] talking it’s very hard to learn. [ You, We ] learn by absorbing what we hear. An added point that’s very helpful to engaging people is to allow for small gaps of silence after someone seems to be finished with a response to one of your open-ended questions. I think you’ll be amazed at how often the other person will work to fill them with more information – sometimes useful [ and sometimes not so useful (COULD BE FUNNY WITH CORRECT AUDIENCE AND/ OR DELIVERY).] In addition to great questions and great listening…
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT: GIVE UNDIVIDED ATTENTION … engaging someone at a networking event is much easier when you give them your undivided attention. Have you ever been on the receiving end of talking with someone who is working the room around you? It sends a poor message – one of arrogance and/ or one of condescension. Be sure that when you’re talking with someone you avoid seeking out other people at that moment and be sure not to answer or be diverted by a cell phone or pager. You can respond to those later or catch up with a particular individual after you complete the connection you’ve made that’s standing in front of you. This is very important to making good quality connections that can lead to helpful business relationships.
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT: VALUE STATEMENTS As you’re talking with people, deliver your prepared value statements when appropriate. As we discussed earlier, it’s inevitable that people will ask one another what they do or “what’s new”. Here’s where you use what you’ve prepared. Again, be specific, clear and quick so that the message is absorbed by the person with whom you’re talking. Avoid the run-on value statements. Your objective is to make contact and begin to create valuable business relationships. It’s about introducing what you do and then learning as much as you can about them. Dale Carnegie, the author of the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” The best conversationalists rarely are the ones who talk the most.
  • SECTION 3: AT THE EVENT: MAINTAIN NETWORKING ATTITUDE Finally, the most important reminder, while at the event be sure to maintain your networking attitude through the conclusion of the program. Be positive and inquisitive. Rest when the event is well over because you could make your best connection on the way out the door. While at the event, remember – it’s show time, literally.
  • SECTION 4: AFTER THE EVENT What’s important after the event? How can [ we, you ] maximize the value of the time [ we, you ] invested in [ our, your ] attending the event?
  • SECTION 4: AFTER THE EVENT: EVALUATE PERFORMANCE First [ we, you ] want to make sure [ we, you ] evaluate your performance against the goals [ we, you ] set before the event. [ We, You ] want to learn from mistakes and things [ we, you ] did right. And [ we, you ] want to make a written note of these so that [ we, you ] absorb them for future events. These notes can be included in the final section of the networking planner included in the guide that I [ sent, gave, handed, will give ] you. Then [ we, you ] want to be sure…
  • SECTION 4: AFTER THE EVENT: FOLLOW-UP … to follow-up with appropriate individuals as soon as possible. This [ we, you ] want to commit to doing in some written form ideally and/ or by phone where it might be appropriate. Phone follow-up will be most appropriate with the people with whom you’ve set meetings or future discussions. [ OPTIONAL SLIDE TO FOLLOW: IF APPROPRIATE TO YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR THE DELIVERY OF THIS PRESENTATION ] Then…
  • [ Ladies & Gentleman, Team, Ladies, Gentlemen ] networking is about contact – contact with people. It’s an exciting activity and an extremely useful skill set to develop. With the solid preparation we’ve discussed here [ today, over the last hour, over these few days ], the… statements questions preparation planning and by remembering to…
  • Approach people proactively at events. Engage them. Learn about them and exit and move on… … we can virtually assure ourselves more enjoyable sales activity and increased sales results.
  • OPTIONAL ENDING SLIDE Thank you for your attention everyone. I look forward to working with you on our networking efforts in the coming [ weeks, months, quarter, year ]. (This is a simple departure slide to be left up at the conclusion of the presentation. You may wish to change the message and/ or add your company logo. For example, you may wish to remove the “contact with people” text box and replace it with your company logo, tagline or quarterly theme.)
  • 1. Effective Networking

    2. 2. networking contact is about contact with people SUCCES S NOW!
    6. 6. WELL BEFORE THE EVENT open-ended questions to engage and learn initiating statements/ questions personal introduction value statements exit statements
    7. 7. WELL BEFORE THE EVENT simple appropriate to the event use a person’s name if known or on name tag Personal introduction
    8. 8. well before the event a minimum of three create the possibility for discussion “ How long have you been [a member of, involved with] [specific group]? General open ended questions
    9. 9. well before the event create learning opportunities engaging a minimum of three for the event Open-ended questions
    10. 10. well before the event true value specific, clear & quick a minimum of two for the event Value statements
    11. 11. well before the event statement for graceful exit to move on statement for scheduled follow-up a minimum of one of each Exit statements
    12. 12. just before the event set clear objectives & goals prepare your attitude SUCCES S NOW!
    13. 13. just before the event quantity of discussions specific people to meet or talk with number of post-event meetings to schedule Objectives & goals
    14. 14. just before the event avoid event cynicism completely positive inquisitive mindset Prepare your attitude
    15. 15. at the event ask open-ended questions send the right message physically Proactively initiate discussions give undivided attention deliver value statements maintain your positive networking attitude SUCCES S NOW!
    16. 16. at the event Use prepared and practiced introductions & initiating statements Proactively initiate discussions
    17. 17. at the event smile face the person completely be energetic Send the right message physically
    18. 18. at the event avoid showing your knowledge unnecessarily listen completely allow small gaps of silence Asking open-ended questions
    19. 19. at the event one-on-one attention avoid wandering and scanning eyes answer cell phones and pagers later Give undivided attention
    20. 20. at the event use when appropriate use prepared specific, clear & quick statements avoid forcing delivery Value statements
    21. 21. at the event remain inquisitive completely positive to the conclusion rest after the event Maintain networking attitude
    22. 22. after the event Quickly evaluate your networking performance follow-up with appropriate individuals begin planning next event SUCCES S NOW!
    23. 23. after the event make a written note review against objectives & goals Evaluate your performance
    24. 24. after the event handwritten, email or letter written form as soon as possible phone if more appropriate Follow-up with appropriate individuals
    25. 25. networking contact is about contact with people SUCCES S NOW!
    26. 26. approach engage learn exit SUCCES S NOW!
    27. 27. SUCCES S NOW! <ul><li>3 Reasons Why You Should Network </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t have to do everything yourself </li></ul><ul><li>It’s OK to ask for help and support </li></ul><ul><li>3. The people in your network know at least 250 people </li></ul>
    28. 28. SUCCES S NOW! <ul><li>5 Tips for SUCCES S NOW! Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Support and Encouragement </li></ul><ul><li>Supply Leads and other referrals </li></ul><ul><li>Become A Source & Resource of Information </li></ul><ul><li>Play Matchmaker </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in Touch </li></ul>
    29. 29. SUCCES S NOW! <ul><li>How to Use your Business Cards </li></ul><ul><li>The date name and place of the function </li></ul><ul><li>Any important, interesting, or meaningful information </li></ul><ul><li>Common Interests you may share </li></ul><ul><li>Any interesting hobbies or outside interests </li></ul><ul><li>The type of follow up you must do, connect with someone in your network, call, e-mail, or send literature or brochure </li></ul>
    30. 30. SUCCES S NOW! <ul><li>If you don’t go out of your way to meet new people, you won’t meet new people. </li></ul><ul><li>Your Customer’s Business and Industry Trade Associations </li></ul><ul><li>Alumni Associations </li></ul><ul><li>Charitable and Philanthropic Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Local Community Events </li></ul>
    31. 31. SUCCES S NOW! <ul><li>When You’re at an Event </li></ul><ul><li>Act as if you are the host act as if this was your party </li></ul><ul><li>Approach People You don’t know </li></ul><ul><li>Make Yourself Approachable </li></ul><ul><li>Say Thank You to Everyone </li></ul>
    32. 32. networking contact is about contact with people SUCCES S NOW!