Yesterday, I attended my first WOMEN IN BUSINESS NETWORK! The room was hiving with lots of ladies from different industries. The first thing the organiser, Nikki Stock, reminded us was that the idea of the meeting was not to sell but to get referrals.
One unexpected activity was speed dating when you have 50 seconds to do your pitch and dish out your business cards. Such a powerful exercice which we repeated 5 times! Each time changing table and audience.
Lots of learning in it: be prepared, have enough business cards (many ladies left theirs in their handbags!) and know your pitch! Speak loudly enough to be heard and slowly enough so that people actually listen and hear what your message is! Don’t say too much, concise is better than fitting in too many details. What I realised is that in none of my presentations, I mentioned my tag line and never actually said “I empower people to take action”…so now I need to do some thinking about what my message is to be as crystal clear as possible! Other learning, when you pick up a business card, make a note on the card to remember why you selected it as you’ll get home with many cards and afterwards you will wonder what made you take it and who on earth this card belongs to! After the event, I followed straight away with connecting with each individual either by email or on Linkedin because after a day or two they would have forgotten about me and vice versa!
This activity has really helped me reframe the way I saw Networking. If I remove the Selling Pitch stigma and go along thinking someone in the room might know my ideal client instead of thinking of them as my ideal clients then I will feel much more relaxed in my approach. If they actually happen to be my ideal client, they will tell me straight away as one lady told me yesterday “I need you!” People like helping and I have now been to a few networking events where people have actually gone out of their way to think about who among their acquaintances might benefit from my services and if I do the same for their business, then it’s a win win situation!
For anyone out there dreading Networking, try this little trick…think about it as, first, a practice exercice, what pitch works for you and for the audience, what resonates for them and you…you might decide to keep altering it until it feels right and secondly see it as a way to find referrals rather than direct sale. Are you ready for this new challenge?!