After you leave a business networking meeting, the first thing you should do is send a follow-up email immediately and set up a heart-to-heart (1 to 1) with the people that you found interesting in the room.
The goal of a heart-to-heart is to get to know the other person and for the other person to get to know you. A heart-to-heart is not a place to spam another person about your business. It is a way to learn about the person. Focus on building the relationship first.
Remember, networking is not about you. It is always about the other person and how you can help them. In order to help other people you need to get to know them first.
Some things to discuss at a heart to heart:
- Goals- What do you want to accomplish in your business? What are the problems that you want to solve in your business?
- Interests- What things do you really enjoy? Hobbies, passions, recreational activities are wonderful things to talk about.
- Skills- What do you do extremely well? What are some areas in your business where you excel? Or maybe you are great at social media or technology. Share this with your contacts and see how you can help them.
- Other Networking Events- Most networkers are part of other great networking groups. Find out about these other options so that you can broaden your circles and meet others as well!
- Family – Most people love to talk about their families. You may find you have more in common than you know. Kids that play the same sports, grandchildren, friends or maybe you both have fur kids!!
- Where do they come from? What unique experiences did they have growing up? It is always fun to reminisce about the past. Remember to use active listening skills. Make eye contact and really absorb what the other person is telling you. Be prepared to share about yourself as well.
Avoid doing the following at a heart to heart:
- Don’t show up with your “presentation” or a ton of literature
- Don’t try to sign them up or ask them to join your team.
- Don’t monopolize the conversation by talking only about your business. If you are meeting for half an hour, then split the time equally so that both parties have time to share about themselves. Set a timer and agree to one person speaking for 15 minutes and then the other person will go next.
- Do NOT speak poorly about another person’s business at a heart-to-heart. You will only be doing a huge disservice to yourself.
Yes, we ultimately network to grow our business but this takes time and is a process. To get referrals from networking friends you need to ensure that your contacts have all of the necessary information about you and your
skills. They need to know you as a person first. It is amazing how many people fail to recognize this. The most important thing to do at a heart-to-heart is to be authentic.