Networking – How to Maximize Contact Value


By: Mike Bayly

Networking is one of the best and most efficient ways of getting new clients for many businesses.

Networking contacts can produce a 25-50% success – much higher than the average 1% for cold calling. So it really can pay to learn how to maximize your networking time and dollars.

Well, you took the plunge, joined the Chamber and you are reading the “calendar of events.” “Members on the Move” catches your eye and you make a reservation. What do you need to do to prepare yourself to maximize that investment of your time and resource?

Have a plan!

As I tell people at my seminars on Presentation Skills, the eagle does not “wing” finding its next meal. It hovers and prepares. It PLANS and so should you. How many new contacts/appointments do you want to meet? This will be determined from your success ratios of converting contacts to potential clients. As a minimum, this needs to be at least three.

  1. Arrive no later than the start time, and scan through the labels for people who have signed up to attend to see if there is anyone you particularly want to meet. Their label will normally include their company so you may be able to determine the type of industry they are in. Know your target markets.

  2. Make sure you have a good supply of clean business cards. I am amazed at the people who attend these functions and either forget to bring or who have just one or two bent and grubby cards!  Your card is one of the first impressions a prospect has of you.

  3. Have a memorable 30-second commercial that tells people what you do and why they should do business with you. Be passionate about your business. After all, if you sound boring, your prospect is not going to be enthused about learning more. If you do not feel comfortable doing this, get some training.

  4. What makes you different from your competition? In the highly competitive world we work in, this is very important. Really think hard from your prospects viewpoint. What would they need your services/products for? How would these enhance their business? Why is your difference important to them?

  5. Ask questions! Don’t just tell. When prospects do the talking, you are learning about them. Ask “open ended” questions – the “what, where, when, why, how”. You cannot answer “yes” or “no” to these types of questions. Learn what their objectives are. Who are they trying to make contact with – you may know someone they need to meet. Give a referral first and you will be amazed at how many come back to you! What are their business problems – their pains. No PAIN, no sale – it’s fundamental.

  6. Limit your time with one person, otherwise you will run out of time and not achieve your number one objective. Be polite, make an appointment if appropriate and move on. So, have your schedule with you!

  7. Do not be afraid of talking to people – that’s what they are all there for anyway.

  8. SMILE!  Look as though you enjoy your job.

  9. Wear appropriate clothing, comfortable and smart.

  10. Be Courteous, Charming and Caring.

  11. Have Energy and above all be Enthusiastic.

  12. Have a sense of Humor!

Then afterward, follow up. No point in getting those contacts if you just put the cards in a drawer. 

Use a contact management computer program (e.g. ACT!) to track progress and analyze your success so you can even better target your NETWORKING. Happy hunting!

By: Mike Bayly

© 2015 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.



View our Sales and Marketing Courses