A New Year = New Connections
A new year is a great time for planning and putting into practice those plans that will propel us into the new year and beyond. If you want/need to grow your business, an important piece to the plan is meeting people. My friend Jacob, made a new year’s resolution in 2016 to dine/break bread/coffee/sweatwork with at least 250 different people, of which at least 10% must be people he’s never met and to read at least 50 books. His logic was that there are a lot of wonderful people in his life, so rather than wait for them to initiate plans, he would. He succeeded with 211 ‘meetings’ and read 60 books. Wow!
Business is built on relationships and relationships traditionally start with that ‘face to face’ meeting..So where and how do you meet these people?
Here are some strategies to determine the ‘right’ event to attend and steps to take when meeting a new person.
Do your research
Most events are hosted by organizations or companies so there is usually plenty of information on their website to help you decide if attending the event will be beneficial to you. If you still don’t have the ‘big picture’, call the organizer and ask these questions:
– Do you have to become a member to attend?
– Is it industry specific? (ie: health professionals, realtors, direct sales, sports etc.)
– Who typically attends these functions? (entrepreneurs, B2B, B2C, Not for Profits, etc.)
– Is it area specific? (local, provincial, national or international)
– how many attend?
– Agenda for the event?
Attend with the intent of Making Connections
Everyone has different ‘methods’ to meeting people. The best method is to be a guest of an existing member and have them introduce you to people that may be a good resource or potential client. If you’re going solo, here are steps to making a connection:
1. The Initial Introduction
– Introduce yourself and repeat the other person’s name once they’ve introduced themselves.
– find a general common ground ie: “Are you a regular attendee of this group?” or “How do you know Cathy?”
– Listen and respond
– If possible, be the first to ask what it is that they do. By allowing them to speak first, they’ll be more apt to listen when it is your turn.
– offer to exchange business cards.
2. The Initial Follow-up
– Send a note or email. (I prefer a handwritten note via snail mail – it has a much bigger impact and they remember me!)
– Say/send something of interest based on the conversation. (it doesn’t have to be business related)
– Always ask how you can help them through your services or in general.
3. The Ongoing Follow-up
After the initial follow-up you will have a better idea of who needs to be on your ‘A’ list and who will remain an acquaintance. If they make the A list::
– send appropriate magazine/ezine articles or information that is relevant to them once a month or every quarter.
– invite them to events that they could benefit from
– always ask how you can help
And the final word . . . talk to strangers. Initiate conversation with individuals that you normally wouldn’t. Pre-judging is a terrible trap to fall into because even though that individual may not seem to be a match for your business, you have no idea who they are connected to or who their circle of influence includes until you speak with them. You may have just missed an opportunity
Want connections? I invite you to check out The Connected Woman Association, an organization of like-minded women who “Go Beyond the Business Card”!
Now Go Get Connected!
About Cathy Kuzel
As a successful Entrepreneur and Business Development Strategist, Cathy teaches entrepreneurs how to let go of limiting beliefs and “Stand Up & Stand Out” to have the business success they dream of. Cathy is recognized across Canada for her expertise on “All Things Small Biz”. Named one of the Top Ten Mentors in Canada, the Founder ofThe Connected Woman Association, Author of “Are You a Collector or a Connector?”; “I’m on the Phone!”; the internationally known “Daily Espressos” and is a networking maven. (whew!)