Networking Script

cover - 5 secrets of a phenomenal bizPhenomenal Networking

Dress well – Don’t show up to a networking group too casual. Making people more “comfortable” by dressing down doesn’t always generate business. If you are going to build powerful business relationships, you need to look like a businessperson. Wear a sport coat and a tie if you are a man. Wear a dress or pantsuit if you are a woman.

Always have business cards (or brochures) – Don’t ever go anywhere without business cards! Keep a stack in your pocket, a stack in the car, and keep your extra supply wherever you keep your car keys!

Always get their card – It is much more important for you to get their card! There is no guarantee that they will call you, so be sure to get their card and follow up with them. Follow up instructions are outlined below.

Be gracious – Remember that in a networking environment, you are not there for you! You are not there to eat and take advantage of the food and drink. You are there to build relationships, so prefer others before yourself. Be polite and kind. Be positive and likeable.

Don’t fall into the good ole’ boys club – The “good ole’ boys club is when people make a pact to scratch one another’s back regardless of whether the other is scrupulous or not. It’s okay to be preferred by someone that you have a positive relationship with, but once it goes beyond honest business practices, stay away!

Avoid getting into negative conversations – Sometimes you will run into people at networking groups that want to talk about the weather or complain about the food, or whatever. Keeping in mind that you are not there for you, avoid these conversations. They are not productive and they bring everybody down.

Don’t stand in the corner all alone – Mingle using the techniques below.

Target your prospects – Try to determine who would be a good relationship partner for your business. Maybe they will be an excellent referral source, or they are somehow related to your industry. Strike up a conversation with them using the script below.
Use good timing – Meet Barbara Bush. A few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting former President Bush (Senior). Since the Bush’s live in Houston, one of our ongoing inner office jokes was “We’re waiting for Barbara’s call”. It would certainly be a pleasure to serve the former first lady.

While I was waiting in a long line to meet the former president, Barbara Bush had only a handful of people around her. Wrapped up in the excitement of meeting her husband, it didn’t dawn on me to give Barbara my card until after we met the former president.

We were the last in line, so by the time we had our photo taken with him, Mrs. Bush began to leave the area, escorted by the Secret Service. I made the huge mistake of approaching her after she had begun to move on. Ugh! The lesson: Use good timing. I had 45 minutes of prime time to approach her! I blew it. Also, be sure not to interrupt when they are involved in something extremely important. Be respectful of their time.

(the good news is that the Bush’s did become clients later on through a referral source)

Show interest in what they do – Instead of just trying to get across what you do, show interest in what they do and find out as much as you can about their business. This will come in handy when you get to talk about your business. People love nothing more than to talk about themselves and their business. In fact, a great exercise is to practice asking as many questions as possible without saying anything about yourself until they ask. Once they ask, that means they will listen closer to what you have to say.

Listen emphatically – Instead of half way listening (called “selective” listening), listen closely to what the other person is saying. Use nods and positive affirmations to let them know you are interested in what they are saying. Even if you aren’t really, you should be, from the standpoint of how you will build a professional relationship with this person.

Try to discover ways you can help them with their business (like a referral program– When you meet someone that is a good prospect for you, instead of trying to find out how they can help you, find out how you can help them. If you can offer valuable information that will help their clients, or if you have a lead for them, you will get all the business you want in return. If you add value and profit to their business, you will be their hero.
Script for introducing yourself at a networking group…

“Hi, I’m Howard. What’s your name?” Person responds. “Nice to meet you. What do you do?” Person responds. “Oh, that sounds interesting.” Now practice asking as many questions as you can about what they do.

After a while, they will begin to feel like they need to reciprocate. That’s called the Law of Reciprocity. In other words, if you give me something, I give you something. If you get into the habit of focusing on listening to them emphatically and showing interest, they will eventually realize they have been talking about themselves and haven’t learned about you.

The time it takes for people to realize this varies greatly depending on who you are talking to! They will then begin to ask you what you do. Now you share about yourself and your business. You should have a memorized 60 second, powerful “commercial” about what you do to share in these types of environments. This will insure that you have maximum impact during the short time you have to introduce yourself.

Mirror their movements – A technique used in building subconscious rapport is called “mirroring”. By mirroring their movements, i.e.: if they cross their legs, you cross yours. If they lean back, you lean back. If they lean forward, you lean forward. This makes them more relaxed and therefore helps you to build more rapport. Try to do this in a natural way. If they notice you are copying them, they may think you are weird! This is done in a natural way. As they shift in their chair and cross their legs, they are just doing it to get more comfortable. When you do the same, they will think you are also just getting more comfortable.

Get permission to contact them – A vital part of the conversation is to get “permission” to call on them. If they give you their word (even if they don’t really want to), they will most likely honor it. Otherwise, if you don’t have their permission to call on them, you will not be as likely to get the appointment.

Get in front of the group as often as possible – Any time you can get in front of a whole group, the better. Don’t be embarrassed to speak in front of the group. Do everything in your power (even when you are not asked) to get in front of the group. Tell the coordinator you want to give something away, or whatever. When I started my consulting business, the first event I promoted myself at was a convention. At the reception they wanted to roast a guy, but they had not really planned what to do. I had this crazy story I had written in one of my manuals and I suggested that I tell that story making believe that it was about him. So before you know it, I am in front of a group roasting a guy I never met!! The audience loved it and I made a lot of new business contacts that still support me today.

Remember why you are there! – You are there to build your business. To build relationships, to find out how you can help others so they will in turn help you. You are not there for personal reasons. Keep your goals in mind and make the time investment worthwhile.

Follow Up

Immediately put their name and address into a database – Every card that you gather, immediately put into a database. If you are strapped for time, hire a high school student or college student to do data entry for you.

Send them a “Nice to Meet You” letter and/or an info pack immediately. You should develop an information pack that shows why prospects should use you over someone else.

Mail to them every single month. Depending on your business, you should be mailing to your clients every month to develop repeat business, referrals, and secure your position with the client. Send post cards, newsletters, and anything that you feel would be valuable to them.

You can have 3 different mailers for clients, prospects, and referral sources. You can also “funnel” your new clients so that you systematically “teach” them how to be the best clients. In other words, when you gain a new client, you send them something each month that is pre-planned that educates them about the vital things they need to know.

Put them on the calendar to call the following week or whenever you told them you would call.

Call Script: “Hi Jack, this is Howard Partridge. We met at (name of networking group).” Jack responds. “I just wanted to see when we could get together to see how we can help each other.” (notice it says “when” not “if” and it says how we can “help each other”, not only how he can help me).

Jack responds. If evasive or unsure: “I don’t want to take up too much of your time. It would only take me a few minutes to share a couple of programs that can really help your clients and add tremendous value to your business. These programs offer free services and information to your client as well as cash rewards to you.”

If still refuses: “No problem, I understand. When would be a good time to check back with you?” (Note the time and enter it in your calendar. Make sure you call then.)

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