The idea of networking can easily be classified as a phobia. Attending a Networking event has been known to cause onset panic attacks, massive confusion, and even mumbled speech. So why do we still feel the need to network?
Personally, networking never felt natural to me, and quite frankly made me extremely uncomfortable. But over the past few years, I have played to my strengths of connecting with others, building rapport quickly, and managed to create an easy 3-step system I could always fall back on. And until today, it’s only been shared with my business coaching and consulting clients.
Always set Goals:
Before I go to an event I always set strategic goals. I like to make them as detailed as possible because it will help me during lulls in conversations and to stay on track. I just attended a real estate end of year gala, and my goals were:
– Meet and have beyond surface-level conversations with 10 New Realtors or Vendor Partners.
– Walk Away with 2 potential leads for 1on1 coaching.
– Walk Away with 2 potential leads for Brand/Business Consulting.
– Walk Away with 2 potential leads for Team Coaching.
Ask, and Ask Again:
The key to building an authentic connection with someone, is to listen, and the best way to force yourself to listen versus speak, is to find the power in asking questions. I have 3 questions I always ask the people I am trying to connect with at these events.
1. So tell me, what do I have to do to be more like you OR what do I need to do to grow a business like yours?
2. I am so happy I connected with you tonight. We have to find time this week to get coffee ASAP. And I was curious if there is anything I can do to help or get more involved with___*?
3. Who do you know that I have to know and can’t leave without meeting tonight?
Like you do with any lead, each connect you make at the event, should be entered into your CRM. With networking leads I always start with a handwritten note, dropping in 1-2 of the 5 facts I remembered, as well reminding them you want to help or get involved, and closing with an ask for setting up that coffee date. I follow up regularly for a month and then after that they drop down to my monthly newsletter.
My Monthly follow up Schedule:
-Day 1 Hand Written Notes
-Day 2 Text of note and a short message
-Day 3 Call or Text to set up coffee
-Week 2 Video Text checking in and seeing if you can get involved or help -Week 3 Video Email checking in to make sure they received your note
Paul Trudel-Payne is originally from Seattle and started, built, and sold a successful real estate company before moving to San Diego, where he now runs his company, Casa Creative Consulting & Design.