There are dozens of ‘networking’ events every day in Central Virginia – and you can run yourself ragged just going from event to event. So why not make sure that you’re getting the most out of these events? And the key to getting more out of networking mixers is simple – Triage – yet I find that most people are horribly ineffective when it comes to understanding this simple concept. Likely this is simply because it can seem so overwhelming. It’s not unusual at all to walk away from a lunch meeting or business after-hours with 10 – 20 plus business cards in hand, maybe more. The quantity from a trade show or multi-day conference can be frightening.
Let’s eliminate that pressure right now – don’t feel like you need to follow-up with everyone.
Frankly, that’s just not productive and creates a ton of work if you’re going to do it right. You’re much better off prioritizing those that you’d like to reconnect with, and in this case, less is more. Oftentimes, having met just 1 or 2 of the right people who know the people you want to know (ala your Bull’s Eye Market or BEM), can be incredible IF you now own the follow-up and execute on the appropriate steps when you triage.
Wait … What are the appropriate next steps? Typically, you’ll know when you’re talking to the right person in that moment.
Here’s what I mean. If the person you’ve been talking with has access to your BEM and is a ‘connector,’ rather than having the focused conversation you really want to have with your new found friend during the mixer, say something like this: “Susie, it’s been great meeting you and I’d really like to continue our conversation, but I’m sure you’d like to spend time meeting some other people while you’re here. I’ll call you tomorrow so we can schedule a time to sit down for coffee or lunch and talk about how we can help each other. Is that okay?” Simply get their contact information, move on to the next person, and DO NOT FORGET TO FOLLOW-UP the next day.
If the person you’re talking with is not able to help you or vice versa, just say something like this: “Susie, it’s been great meeting you, but I’m sure you’d like to spend time meeting some other people while you’re here. Enjoy the event.” Exit stage left.
It’s as simple as that.
Use the mixer or event as a way to triage potential contacts and schedule the follow-up meeting. That’s it. NOTHING IS FOR SALE. If you start selling to people at events, you will be disappointed – you are there to meet connectors and then build a mutually beneficial relationship with them. As soon as you start selling, you’ll start repelling. Have a meaningful conversation, determine if there is a fit for a future relationship, and you’ll attract people.
If you execute this simple process, you’ll be well on your way to being far more successful in your networking efforts at mixers!