Speed Networking?! What do I say?!

Some of you may be wondering what in the world Speed Networking is.  🙂  Imagine speed dating–only with business owners and salespeople.  Essentially, a group of people get together and sit at tables.  One side of the tables rotates one seat to the left with every rotation.  Each rotation is 1-2 minutes–each person gets 1/2 that time to tell all about his/her business.  You exchange cards and move on.

It’s crazy (literally!) fun, super exhilarating, and a great way to meet LOTS of new people in a VERY short time frame.  It can also be overwhelming for folks who don’t know how to handle themselves at a speed networking event.

Here are 6 Tips for a successful Speed Networking experience:

1. Dress for Success!  Be sure that you wear professional attire.  People form their impression of you in the first 30 seconds of meeting you, for better or worse.  It’s amazing what a nice necklace and pair of earrings can do for a t-shirt!  You don’t have to go out and buy a new suit, but you do want to look professional.  First impressions are important!

2. Focus on getting contact information with the intention of turning those leads into friends.  The key is to listen and learn as much as you can about each person.  Make sure you get their card–and that their card has their MAILING address on it!  Instead of freaking out about having to move in one minute, slow your breathing down and really listen to the other person.  Take time to connect as best as you can.

3.  Try to let the other person go first.  That gives you time to listen to the other person and think about how you can help him/her.  Spend your 30 seconds focused on helping that other person, rather than just pitching your product/service. They will be impressed that you care about them and that you actually listened to what they had to say!!

4.  These are business people, so if you are in network marketing, don’t pitch your opportunity right now.  Focus on the product or service and how you can help him/her improve the business he/she already has.

5.  If possible, bring a sample of your product with you to give/show to the person across from you.  Make sure you have plenty of business cards.  Remember, giving someone your website doesn’t work 99% of the time.  Don’t rely on a flyer or business card to make the sale for you.  That’s YOUR job.  🙂

6.  After the event, FOLLOW UP!  At a minimum, do the following:

a) Send an e-mail immediately saying Nice to Meet You.  That’s about it!  Don’t give your sales pitch, although something to the effect of “If I can help you with x, let me know!” Or “If you’d like to get together for lunch/coffee soon to talk about how we can help each other” along with a link to your site would be ok at the end of your e-mail.

b) Send a CARD–a REAL PAPER card to each person that you meet.  This should be a simple Nice to Meet You Card.  If possible, include your picture.  You can say something very simple like, “Hi, First Name!  It was great to meet you at the Speed Networking event on Tuesday.  I had a crazy good time meeting you and all the other wonderful professionals at the event!  I’m looking forward to getting to know you better!”  (This isn’t hard!  But, if you need help with a service that makes this EASY and INEXPENSIVE, let me know!)

c) Call them within the next few days to follow up and set an appointment.

d) Optional:  If you are on social media, find the people you met and friend them on Facebook, connect with them on Linked In, etc.

The more “touches” you have with a person, the “warmer” contact they become.  People will be impressed with your follow up, and they will feel like a million dollars because you remembered them and cared enough to send them a real card.  🙂

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