Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden
To get started, Google networking in your area – for example: “networking Sonoma County” – and search for a site that has links to different networking events in the area. Go to the Calendars of the various groups and match that up with your schedule, so that you are going to at least 4-8 a month, some in the morning (breakfasts with a guest speaker) and some at night (the social happy hour types) so you are meeting different kinds of people.
This is how to not work a room at a networking function. You will see others doing this:
- Grouping with people they already know
- Spending too long talking to people who are trying to sell to them
- Talking too much when they find someone who is interested
- Passing out their business card to everyone without collecting information
Instead, what you should do is:
- Move quickly through the room searching for prospects. (Like “speed dating”)
- Have a Wow How Statement that explains what you do. (Make sure it is one line only and gets them to ask. “Wow! How do you do that?”)
- Share only enough information with them about what you do to keep them interested. (When they ask “What is that?” respond with a story of how you helped someone that sells a benefit.)
- Collect information. (Get whatever information that you need. Qualify)
- Aim for finding as many prospects as possible that you can call later to set an appointment.
What are Wow How Statements?
They are basically an elevator pitch that makes people say, “Wow, that’s cool. How do you do that?”
At a networking meeting when someone asks you what you do for a living you don’t want to say, “I sell insurance.” They think about how they already know many insurance agents and they want to run the other way. Here are some points to consider:
When coming up with your ‘Wow-How’ think about the following:
- What makes me unique? What is my USP? (Unique Selling Proposition)
- How can I be seen as a ‘resource’?
- What makes me different from everyone else in my industry?
- What is my goal in this industry?
- What am I exceptionally good at?
- Why do people work with me over someone else?
- What is funny or interesting about me, my company or my industry?
Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide. Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow-Up