Matthew Davies is an Author, Speaker and Consultant in Learning and Development. He is a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute and works with major corporate clients around the world, including MOO.com. This is the fifth series of six blog posts in which he teaches teach us how to work the room so effectively, you’ll get holes in your shoes.
When I started to look for the common connections at networking events I found that it really took the pressure off any inner desire to seal the deal, after all, the point of networking is not to sell. It also taught me that someone you could easily initially dismiss may well hold the key to some juicy business.
The principle is simple. Most people want to be helpful but it’s usually a step too far for them to open up their offices to you at your first meeting. However many are keen to introduce you to someone they know. For example, I was at a networking event and I was talking to a chap who ran his own business managing office space. I recommended him to one of my clients and he did the same for me and we both got business.
The likes of the BNI (Business Network International) are masters at this and I’d highly recommend checking them out. We still haven’t done any business directly with each other. I could have easily dismissed him as a dead end and moved on networking. I didn’t because he was an interesting person and naturally understood this principle.
LinkedIn is another classic example of this highlighting 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections depending on how well we know a person. ‘I know someone who knows somebody’ allows you to dig a little around your fellow networkers contacts. Get them thinking about who they know that may benefit from your products or services.
Do a swap? I’ll introduce you to ‘A’ if you introduce me to ‘B’. So I never think I’m going to do business with the person I’m talking to. Honestly! I genuinely put the notion of gaining direct sign-ups from those present at a networking event to one side and focus on building relationships and finding out who they are and who they know.
Written by Matthew Davies