I consider myself something of a networking pro but I still screw it up plenty. I want to share with you
a powerful networking secret (or “the mistake I made at my last networking event”).
It’s a major irritation to me when someone tries to “sell me” on something without asking me any questions first.
That long, detailed story that’s supposed to be amazing and compelling about how your mother-in-law used your product and was able to stop taking her high blood pressure medicine? I am just going to politely listen while mentally writing out my grocery store shopping list. I don’t know her. I don’t have high blood pressure. It’s a nice story, but I really don’t care.
What I would like to know is whether your product can help me maintain my weight and have more energy. Y’know…address MY needs. I, like everyone at all times, want to know what’s in it for ME.
Oooh, but you dove right in to your big testimonial without first asking questions about what I need. Riiiight.
A while back, I attended a local networking event as a guest of a dear friend and client of mine. It was at lunch time so my blood sugar was low but, still, that’s no excuse and I know better.
What was my mistake?
I talked to several people about all the amazing things I have to offer without taking time to truly discover their needs first. Granted, they approached ME and I was a visitor so they wanted to get to know me but even so, when I realized my mistake I would have kicked myself except that I was was driving home at the time.
I, like many of you, looove what I do and loooove talking about it. I know people need what I have to offer. I am passionate about it.
But I should have taken the time to ask some probing questions to address their actual pains instead of yammering about what I do and hoping they needed something I mentioned.
Let that be a lesson to you. No matter how nervous you are…no matter how compelling your story is…no matter how passionate you are about what you have to offer…when meeting new people and connecting with them, remember to find out what they need first.
They may need something you can’t offer, but pointing them in the right direction will still make a lasting impression.
My powerful networking secret? When meeting potential clients or referral sources, take the time to discover their needs before you try to sell them anything.
Find out what pains people have THEN connect the dots to what you have to offer. It’s true what they say…
when you help people get what they want, you get what you want, too.
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