Have you ever gone to a networking event like a trade show, conference, or happy hour and made a bunch of new connections only to have those people never reply or ever connect with you again? Me too. What is going on there and how can we avoid it?
WHY DO NEW CONNECTIONS FIZZLE OUT?
In order to diagnose this problem, why do we make these amazing connections only to have them fizzle out and never hear from these people again, we should start by looking within. Think back to the last networking event or conference that you attended and remember how you felt as you were walking in? Do you notice how you might've felt a little excited or maybe a little anxious? What’s happening is you're getting into an altered state.
ENTERING INTO AN ALTERED STATE
The environment that you're in always has a major impact on how you're thinking and behaving. When you're going into a social setting like a networking event or conference, that environment's going to create a different way of you just being and showing up. And that's happening to everyone else as well. The environment is actually creating somewhat of an intoxicating effect. So instead of getting somebody's real nature, you’re getting their altered nature. You’re getting the version of them that's altered by that environment. So, when you're talking to somebody, you're seeing them being more open-minded, happier to connect and they may even be really happy to give you their business card. And you must take into account that as cool and open minded as this person seems, they're in an altered state.
EVERYONE WANTS TO FEEL IMPORTANT
I remember being a salesperson in a booth at an event. And I had somebody, lets call him John, walk up and he said, "I never take a phone call from a salesperson. But here I am and I'm talking to everybody. Here's my card, take my card." And I thought, "What are you doing? Why are you giving me your business card and in the same sentence you're telling me that you never talk to salespeople?"
In Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he talked about people wanting to feel important. So, John never talks to salespeople, but at this conference, he wants to feel important. And what's a way John can feel important? He can say, "I'm important. I'm a big VP. Here's my card, call me." And he can get all the serotonin and dopamine hits to feel good because he's feeling important in that moment. But when he gets back to his office and he gets out of that altered state from the environment, it triggers him to behave like he always behaved in the past.
Well, what makes John feel important when he's in his office? He feels important by never talking to salespeople. So we have to take this into account. That however this person is showing up at the event may not be the way they show up when they get back to their office.
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4 TECHNIQUES TO IMPROVE YOUR RESULTS NOW
So what can we do? Here's four techniques that you can use right now at your next networking event or conference to ensure that you have a better conversion rate, can actually create real connections, and have real productive meetings from these connections.
Number one, take a selfie with that person. With a big smile on your face from the connection that you both created together, take a selfie and text it to them. That's going increase the likelihood of that person remembering you, liking you, trusting you, and wanting to remain connected with you and book that next meeting.
Number two, book a meeting with them right then and there. As soon as you have that great connection with somebody, pull out your calendar and say, "Hey, let's go ahead and set up that follow-up meeting right now." And you're always going to get an objection, "Oh, let me get back to you.” Or “We've got a lot of things going on next week." But act as if you don't book the meeting right there, this person will never talk to you again, because statistically that's probably what's going to happen. So book that meeting right then and there, get through the objection and do it.
Number three, send them a personalized video sharing with them what you enjoyed about their conversation. Include personal observations about what you liked about them and what you remembered about them. That will make them more likely to want to keep engaging with you because you saw them as a human being versus just a possible transaction.
Number four, take the time to send a handwritten note or letter or send them a little gift in the mail. That will make you stand out by far. While everyone else is emailing, texting, or blowing them up on LinkedIn, make yourself different by sending them a handwritten note or even a gift in the mail. They're more likely to reciprocate by taking a meeting with you because you went that extra mile.
By following these four techniques, you're more likely than ever to actually have a successful networking event or a successful time at a conference.
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