Making ‘Business Networking’ successful.
“I cannot meet with you today as I am so busy…” he said but then when the phone went down he told me that he didn’t really know the person who just called…that they’d met at an event and exchanged cards etc …but he didn’t see it as a immediate client and so chose to plough on through his ‘admin and organisational’ work instead of meeting up.
My question to him was – “When DO you decide to have a meeting then?”
“Well obviously if they want something and I can make immediate business then I will meet up” he replied.
“Do you find that people usually just immediately buy when you have only just met then?” I asked
“No…” he said slowly “But I haven’t got time to meet just for a chat that might go nowhere”
And so we have a common scenario.
Now, I don’t know about you but here would be my suggestions:
Firstly, I am absolutely certain that before a business transaction there is a ‘getting to know’ period. You are probably similar to me, but I wouldn’t buy from someone until I felt I knew enough about their history and character and ability at what they do. Certainly never on a ‘first date’! Therefore you simply have to meet and ‘dance’.
Secondly, I constantly find out ‘stuff’; about a person that I am chatting to that I never would have imagined …and contacts and referrals and nuggets of knowledge that no-way I’d have known had we not had that first meeting….and so ‘judging’ prior to knowing is pretty insane!
Thirdly, and not to be too ‘picky’ but surely if time is being consumed with ‘admin and organisational work’ then this is a ‘labour’ that can be outsourced for very little money maybe as little as £10 per hour…and yet prospecting might lead to a brilliant introduction and possibly a revenue stream of many thousands!!! Surely the priorities and values are a little skewed here?!
I appreciate it can at times be frustrating and a little ‘hit and miss’. You and I both know that we sometimes “kiss a few frogs”…. but that unless we do that, we don’t meet “a Prince”. Some meetings are not great…but some lead to Gold!
The answer is not to avoid speculative meetings, it is to better choose where you go, who you bump into and then who you exchange cards with! Selective yes but never avoidance.
AND when you do meet, meet with an open and sharing attitude. Business may not flow between two of you but it could lead to excellent 3rd party introductions and they could be hugely valuable! Never ever meet with a ‘What’s In It For Me” mindset …but rather with a “What can I share?” mindset.
I promise that the small tweak in attitude, and a slightly better approach to selection, and suddenly meetings become fruitful and enjoyable and life as a collaborator is bountiful!
Lets you and I together breed a world of sharing and helping which is an energy that breeds life instead of hunting which ultimately kills.
Have a wonderful happy collaborative week