After having attended around 1000 networking events around the UK, and spoken to many thousands of people along the way, it’s no surprise that I have met more than a few network marketers.
Some of them get networking absolutely right, and build thriving teams as a result, and yet many seem to struggle to get any traction.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive, but I’ve put together five pointers which I hope will help you in your journey to networking success.
- Don’t try to hide what you do. The most successful network marketers I know are proud of the company they partner with and never try to hide that behind clever words. One of the most successful Utility Warehouse distributors I ever met started his 40 second introduction with “My name is XXX and I am an Authorised Distributor for The Utility Warehouse Discount Club”. He said it confidently, he said it proudly and he meant it. When people try to hide what they do it sticks out a mile and, I’m afraid, diminishes the trust you should be trying to build at that stage. Be proud of who you are working with. If you’re not, other people will spot that immediately.
- Remember that people at networking events have probably heard of your company already. Organisations such as Herbalife, Forever Living, Arbonne, Juice Plus and Utility Warehouse have been around a while and most likely there has been a distributor or business owner at the very networking meeting you are attending. That is an opportunity rather than a thread and you should treat it as such. In fact, there might even be a distributor from the same company at the same meeting as you. Your opportunity is to be you. People buy people and, if you approach your networking correctly the right people will be attracted to you for the right reasons.
- A networking contact isn’t a prospect, yet. Just because you’ve met someone at a networking meeting this morning, doesn’t mean that you should immediately bombard them with sales messages. Your follow up needs to be more subtle than that. Sometimes it takes several meetings and one to ones before someone is even remotely interested. The huge opportunity for you, is that most people, in any business, give up after the first conversation.
- Be aware that this might be a long game. You know that your opportunity is fantastic. It might be that is isn’t the right fit for the person you are speaking to right now. But by keeping in touch, over time, you are more likely to be there if the time does become right for them. People at networking events are very used to the people who only attend once and then are never seen again. Being there, regularly, demonstrating your success and lifestyle, will win the right people over when the time is right for them. You can’t force it, and if you try, you are more likely to push people away.
- Feedback is vital, even if it is silent. The biggest value I get from networking is the opportunity to listen to the feedback from within the room. Networking people are overwhelmingly supportive and often people have given me direct feedback, if I’ve invited it. Sometimes that feedback will be silent though, and that is just as important. For example, if you’re presenting your 40 seconds and nobody is asking you for a 121, that is extremely valuable feedback. You simply need to rework your 40 seconds until you hit on the one which works. If you are having 121s and they aren’t leading anywhere, you need to look at how you are approaching them and maybe think of a different approach. The really brilliant thing about networking is that you always get a second chance, you can come back next week and try something different. I accelerated my success by not being precious, by getting over myself and by listening to, and responding to the feedback. If it isn’t working, make it work.
I really hope this helps. The opportunity for network marketing professionals to really win at networking is huge. And by finding an approach which works for you, you will.