What to do at network meetings:
Network meetings are NOT the place to close sales or sign people up for your product or services! They are places to make initial introductions. If you try to close sales at your first meeting you will be disappointed and the other participants will be less inclined to want to get to know you.
The goal of attending network meetings is to set up times to meet with other members to get to know them better. People want to work with people they Know, Like, and Trust. Establishing these relationships takes time, planning and effort. The rewards can be remarkable!
It is very difficult to develop a relationship with someone you just have a quick breakfast or lunch with. This is epically true when there are another 20 people in the room, there was some sort of program or presentation and you just listened to everyone’s 30 second introduction!
A private meeting at your office or at their office or somewhere you can have a reasonably quiet and private conversation is the next step. If you work from home you may want to meet at an executive suite conference room or private shared office. Restaurants and coffee shops are okay as a second alternative but they can be very noisy and very distracting.
What to ask to develop a referral relationship
How long have you been in the area?
How do you do your marketing? (Really great question)
Where is your office?
Who are your customers?
How long have you been in business on your own?
How did you get into this business?
Listen, listen, and listen to all the answers.
Ask them to describe their perfect client and how you can identify them.
The next step
Send them a thank-you Email and in the Email confirm that you understand who their perfect client is and that you will actively be listening and looking for them.
If you have the opportunity to speak and/or do a presentation at the Net Work group, it’s a great opportunity for many people to get to know a little about you and what you do. DON’T TRY TO SELL! Use this time to let people know about you, why you got into the business, some personal experiences and personal stories. Be careful, don’t turn them into sales pitches. Make them want to get to you better.