Often times when working with professionals who are more reserved there is a natural tendency to avoid connecting with strangers. Those that are C and S Wired are more reserved than outgoing. However, since introvert’s tendencies are to build deeper relationships and listen more than they talk and that is a real asset in networking.
Here are some tips that work no matter how you’re wired but especially helpful for my C and S wired friends:
Get Out There
Look in your local business journal or newspaper for chamber of commerce
meetings, BNI meetings, local networking events and other events that seem to target clients in your demographic.
Meet The Influencer
Maybe meeting everyone is not on your radar screen at all, however meeting the key influencer. Sometimes it’s the organizer of the event but not always. Go early, before the crowd comes. Introduce yourself and then immediately ask them about THEM and THEIR business and the sponsoring organization of the event. Since you’re a few minutes early, offer to help check people in. That’s a great way to meet other folks. An awesome resource for you in this is Sales Coach Pierce Marrs. Pierce is gifted at helping each of us to learn how to connect more effectively.
No doubt you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule. For effective networking and connecting I use the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time they are either talking or you’re asking them a question about them, their business or their industry. People love to talk about themselves, so give them what they love. It will also separate you from every shark in the room that is there for the ‘kill.’
You Give Value First
If you can offer some connection, insight or recommendation that will help them, offer it. Then look for absolutely nothing in return. A great resource for this is Bob Burg and John David Mann’s book The Go Giver in this book, Bob shines a spotlight on how we can move from getter to giver and gain in the process.
Stop Looking For Collectors
Going to an event and pressing a business card into someone’s hand is not a win. Yes there are some participants in this event who are just there to collect cards, as if the person with the most cards wins. As one of my mentor’s Paul Martinelli shares “ Don’t go net fishing, go spear fishing.” You can cast a wide net, collect a ton of business cards for businesses that are not at all interested in your services, then like a good net fisherman, you’ll add them to your mailing list, tick them off, have them unsubscribe and they’ll be sure to avoid you at the next event. Instead, follow the first 4 steps above and only when there is a positive connection, let them know you would like to stay in touch and ask if you could exchange business cards.
Within 24-48 hours send a follow up email saying it was nice to meet them and you look forward to seeing them again.
Serve But Don’t Stalk
As you come across articles or information that would be helpful for them, forward them the link or information. Don’t stalk them and send them information like this too often. Be a giver not a pest.
Like any other skill, good connecting and networking skills can be developed as long as you put a plan in place to grow in this area. Put together a winning inner circle to help you to grow and to challenge you in this area.