By Jeff Beals
It’s getting to be that time of year, where you can go to a networking event every day and another one every evening. I can’t possibly hit all of them but try to make many of them.
If you’re going to run from receptions to dinners to end-of-year meetings, you might as well get some networking benefit. Here are a few things to help you find business and professional value at all those eggnog-sipping get-togethers:
Determine what is most interesting – You need an “area of self-marketing expertise,” something about your business or career that is fascinating to people outside your profession. Feature this when you are networking or using social media.
Focus on results when networking – When you go to networking events, go with a goal in mind. Sure, you should try to enjoy your conversations, but make it your mission to meet new people, find a good lead and learn about a golden opportunity.
Refresh your elevator speech – Does your 20-second intro speech need updating? You need to be able to say what you do quickly, clearly and in a way that captures a person’s interest. A useful elevator speech also conveys how a person could benefit from what you do.
Have a good attitude – And envision success! Like a coach mentally preparing athletes for a big game, you can increase your likelihood for success by imagining yourself doing well in a social situation. Sit down and envision yourself saying the right things, using good interpersonal skills and being professionally assertive.
Rule of thirds – Spend two-thirds of the time you are with another person talking about that person, their work and their interests. Spend one-third of the time talking about yourself, your company and your products. If you show a lot of sincere interest in other people they can’t help but like you.
Questions – Ultimately, networking should lead to some tangible benefit. You can push professional relationships forward in part by asking questions. Ask things that lead people down a path to your ultimate goal. You may find benefit in preparing questions ahead of time and rehearsing in your mind how you might ask such questions.
Valuable leave-behind – You should leave discussion partners with an item of value but this is nothing you can see, taste or touch. It’s intangible – something like a joke, piece of trivia or a bit of interesting insider information. These intangible leave-behinds make you and your message more memorable.
Google Yourself – If you haven’t done a search on your name lately, see what’s out there. I guarantee that people are Googling you on a regular basis. A prospective client will probably Google you to know who he or she is dealing with before meeting with you. That’s why a Google trail is so important. If nothing or very little pops up when someone Googles you, there’s a problem – they’ll assume you don’t have much going on. Therefore, Google your own name on a regular basis. If you’re not very visible on line, deliberately get your name out there to build an Internet presence.
Sharpen your social media presence – Make sure you post material on the social media that is interesting and not just inane trivial stuff. Use social media to strengthen your reputation by building on your area of self-marketing expertise. It’s not enough to just have a directory listing on social media. Interact with people, post updates, ask questions, endorse people, connect people with each other and participate in discussion groups.
Use Your Real Name – In order to build your personal brand, use your real name when reviewing products on websites, making comments at the end of newspaper/magazine articles and posting comments on discussion forums. Review books on Amazon.com that are related to your expertise. Just make sure the things you write help your personal brand as opposed to harming it.
Engage the Media – Volunteer your expertise to media outlets in your industry as well as your local market. Make a point to meet members of your local and industry media and build friendly relationships with them. In addition to traditional media, you can get a lot of mileage from doing blogs and podcasts.
Live actively and focus externally – Be active and involved outside your home or office. Show up at networking events. Go out of your way to talk to people when you are in public venues. Remember that nearly 75% of all jobs are never advertised and a similar percentage of big clients only come from relationship-building.
Never let up – When things are good, don’t let complacency stop you from perpetually marketing yourself. When things are going poorly, don’t let discouragement be an excuse for apathy.
Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”
Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:
“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC
“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil
“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team
“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA
“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA