One of the myths about “networking” is that everybody is there to do the same thing. Everyone is there to simply meet people, correct? Incorrect.
In a general sense, some are there to sell NOW while others are there to sell LATER. An article on Strategic Business Network lists 10 reasons people should attend networking events. Among them were:
- Starting relationships that will lead to joint ventures
- Honing your marketing message
- Recruiting talent
- Staying on top of current trends
(You can read the rest of that article here)
Other articles list positioning yourself as the expert and connecting with your ideal buyer as reasons to insert yourself (and assert yourself) at an event.
It’s great to talk yourself up and fine tune your pitch because ultimately, you need to make money in business. It’s great to know how you can help people and share with them how you can make them better. But, if you want to be REALLY valuable, be the person who knows who else can help. That’s right, be the person that points people to others. Be the RESOURCE. Be the connector.
Let’s shift your approach for a moment. What if you went to an event and instead of LOOKING for potential clients, you were simply looking to connect people to other valuable people? What if instead of asking, “So what do you do?”, you led with, “What type of person are you looking to get connected with tonight?”
How about some other question options?
“Who in this room would be most valuable to you and your business tonight?”
“What big project are you working on right now that might need an external resource?”
“If you wanted to increase your business in the next 90 days, who are the people that you would need to help you do that?”
Now, once you have some answers, you are directed and on a mission. You can simply meet other people and instead of it being an awkward intro, you can simply lead with:
“Hey, I’m Robert. Listen, I’m trying to help Ericka over there find someone who is in the human services industry. Do you know anyone in the room that fits that description?”
What just happened? You have shifted from someone hawking your wares to someone who is simply interested in HELPING and SERVING others. You are a resource. You are a connector. You are the MVP! If you do enough of this, then you will naturally begin to know who to make introductions to.
When I was in the real estate industry, there were some agents that were ridiculously successful. It wasn’t because they were slick talkers. It was because, in addition to listing a house, they were able to connect their clients to great loan officers, home inspectors, insurance underwriters, and attorneys. They had names of vendors that were successful easily accessible to them. So, they were able to cut down DRASTICALLY on the work the client needed to do.
If you become the person that links the chains, you cut down DRASTICALLY on the work that everyone else has to do and you become the hub.
While everyone else is focusing on how they can get ahead, you focus on changing the game, THEIR GAME. Become their MVP!