Tackling three common networking challenges
I love helping entrepreneurs be more efficient with their time during networking events, and because I am so often asked for tips on networking, I’ve made a list of three common challenges experienced while networking, and I’m here to offer some solutions.
1. People don’t get me/it
I mention what I do to people, but they don’t seem to understand my concept, idea, or business.
There are many ways to fix this issue. You first have to identify whether you are losing them with the whole presentation or is it just over one point. Next time you run your pitch, notice at what point are you losing them. After you identify where in your pitch the issue is located, switch your presentation style until the person you’re pitching to becomes reengaged or is able to understand your idea.
Some tips for helping others get a better understanding of your ideas:
- Add visual aids – bring a picture, animation, or video on your phone, or bring physical prototype of your concept with you.
- Tone down your technical jargon – speak in language where the majority of your customers will understand you, but add just enough technical language so that you still come across well-spoken, educated, and an expert on your subject.
- Refine your pitch – read your pitch back to yourself and others. Any feedback you get through this process will help you work out all your kinks.
2. I’m getting bad leads
I tend to get many lower level leads – how can I fix or improve this?
When you’re at a networking event, qualify everyone. If you know for example, that a qualified lead for you needs to be another business owner then make sure you ask a question such as, “So, who do you work for?” within the first 30 seconds of the conversation. Asking a question like this will allow you to find out from each person whether they own a business themselves or is working for someone. If a lead for you needs to make a certain amount of money, ask how many employees they have and figure out how much revenue the company generates. If you are looking for a mid-sized company to do business with, for example, and your new introduction says they have five employees, you’ll need to politely move on to better qualified leads.
Another thing you can do to improve the quality of your leads at networking events is to look for where your competitors are getting high quality leads. Where are they networking? Go where your competitors to. Look for lead-rich networking events. This may sound like an obvious solution, but many business owners don’t dig deep enough with this concept. Look to attend events where there are lots of leads all in one place. Most industries have quarterly or annual conventions that attract thousands of potentially qualified leads for your business all into one spot. Seek these events out, build a list, and make it top priority to attend these events.
3. Organizing my contacts is overwhelming
I am having issues with figuring out who all is in my contacts.
Keeping your contacts organized is the answer – a challenge for many that can be overcome quite simply. Every time I meet a new person, I think of up to three keywords that describe their talents, occupation, or how they are most useful to me in a business setting. I have contacts in my rolodex that are labeled as ‘connectors’ indicating that they know a lot of people. Go through your contacts and assign each of them a few keywords over how they may be useful to you now or in the future. Once each contact has a keyword associated, just search for that keyword next time you need something. If you need a lawyer, it’s much easier to search for ‘lawyer’ in your phone or CRM rather than remembering someone’s first and last name and remembering everything about their skills and talents.
After you have organized your contacts this way, you will find it very easy to group your contacts based on a variety of other attributes such as geographic location, rate of pay, and anything else depending on what your needs are.