5+1 tips – Beginning to network for the network shy

5+1 tips – Beginning to network for the network shy

Typically we go to events with a prior mindset of connecting with folks who could help in our businesses. Here are some tips from my experience, to help those who find it awkward to begin..

Wishfully,  I would want to network with the most influential person in the room- but would a meeting like this help? He would have 10 possible networkers around him. It is good to have his card but – very unlikely to leverage from a conversation, jostling in the middle of this crowd

  1. Knowing who do you connect/network – sometimes a look around will automatically draw you to someone – he/she would be a good person to begin with. Once you begin, other people will be around – just mill into the next person. Better still nod your head and stand next to someone available and let him network :smile:
  2. Starting a conversation – Having found the person, striking a conversation is actually simple. In a networking meet, one is expected to be unaware of another person’s business and therefore, “So, what do you do?” and “ Hi, I am Neel with ‘nfaktor’ and you are ?” is a perfectly good start . Asking a simple question, even if it is about the traffic, generally works.   Having a One-Liner that describes you and your company could  not only be handy but also critical at this stage and will help you avoid an unprepared awkward moment should you have to face the question.         3125_wpm_lowres
  3. Continuing a conversation:  Continuing a conversation is mostly not by talking but listening, So let us listen, listen beyond hearing. Go deeper – pause, ask questions on what he/she is saying and you will find that he is interested in you without you speaking a full sentence.
  4. Exchanging Cards: Sometimes this gets awkward because more often than not – one of you has a dinner tray or a coffee cup in your hands. So wait, till that awkwardness goes, if it does not go away – I have found it perfectly alright to say “I will let you finish your dinner and find you later to give you my card”.  Generally, I prefer to exchange cards after the conversation.
  5. Moving on to the next contactWinding up a conversation is again not so difficult and I have heard many variations of     some standard lines like “Let me also grab a plate” , “ Maybe we should catch up again , Can I have your business card? ”.  It is also important at this stage to mention a promise to connect back.

5+1. Converting to a relationship:  This is the difficult part. Typically retaining the contacts that we create in an event is more difficult, because your contact is no longer bound to respond to your “Hi” through a mail, so how you connect with the contact in the immediate next few days defines if your networking was useful. A phone call or an email or both continuing on what you discussed would be great to start.

….from here on networking ends and a relationship begins…Important thing to know is that when you make a relationship you will get business, and networking is about creating relationships – avoid selling and just try and understand everything the prospect says and you will find it easy….

Happy Networking!!

‘Selling’ and ‘Making a prospect buy’ – Not two sides of the same coin!!

‘Selling’ and ‘Making a prospect buy’ – Not two sides of the same coin!!

he objective, in the ‘selling’ approach and ‘making my prospect buy’ approach is the same, but there is an enormous gap in the messaging. In ‘Selling’ we have ‘We’ (our company, our product, our service, our culture) as the centrepiece while in ‘making my prospect buy’ approach the centrepiece is the Buyer.

At this point, we have lot of us nodding our heads in a ‘yes we know’ but typically the connect and the pride that we have with all that is ours (our company, our product, our service, our culture) makes it very difficult to even try to understand what our prospect actually wants.

Companies have become large, just by focusing on ‘how to make my prospects buy’ while those which focused on their greatest product have just perished – we know of the successful companies and for each of them there are a dozen or more companies which got their product right and they felt nothing could be better, not even a prospect which thought a bit otherwise.

One of the key aspects in ‘making prospects buy’ approach, is creating the perception of the product that it is good and is what it promises to be. Perception is a purely one sided word. We can show, tell, write everything about the product but ‘perceiving’ it the way a customer wants, is purely his/her prerogative.

This is where, it becomes an art. ‘Perception’ equates very closely with value. Not the value of the product but the value of the benefit the buyer derives from acquiring the product. Value also equates with the Price of the product, including the effort and the resources that the buyer is going to invest for the value, the buyer ‘Perceives’. Therefore, the key to creating the ‘Perception’ is to understand the customer, its business, need, preferences, dislikes and whatever is possible. In a larger context, a clear understanding of the market from the perspective of the buyers, themselves is essential to create the ‘Perception’. In essence, depending on how it is positioned, Perception becomes the real value.

The second most important parameter after ‘Perception’ is the ‘Likeability’ of the product. Likeability is again a very subjective word, nonetheless, when our buyers do not like the color on the bottle, or are intimidated by the sales guy and we lose serious brownie points. Therefore again, it is important that the product is presented and packaged in a way, it aligns with the ‘Perception’ created. Likeability in a way is a value enhancer

The last and a critical parameter is ‘Association’ of the product. All buyers have subconscious favourites and the favourites could be ideologies, people, fantasies, places, events and there are those standard memory joggers – like a life occasion, a childhood memory, a song. For e.g. associating with happy occasions could be better to get a mindshare for a chocolate brand than listing out the nuts and the flavors; likewise associating with ‘time with family’ could influence a buyer to make a decision on choosing a home internet connection. ‘Association’, in fact is a very powerful sales agent.

Having talked of PerceptionLikeability and Association, it might sound little ‘Consumerish’ but almost everything stated above works even in a B2B scenario, after all it is always a human being that buys, not the business.