Networking: Do You Build Relationships Or Do You go Straight for the Sale?

Are you one of those people who can’t go to a social or networking event without talking business, handing out cards, or trying to close deals with unsuspecting attendees?

If you are, then you are most likely putting people off, potentially ruining your reputation and making people want to avoid you like the plague. I hate to say it, but no one really wants to know what you do. It may be a nice way to strike up a conversation with someone, but that’s as far as it should go.

Add Value

Business people are always on the lookout for people who add value. Trust grows when you go deeper by engaging and finding a connection. Once that connection has been established, they will want to be connected with you and in turn, hear what you have to say.

Ask good quality questions

One way of connecting with people is to ask good quality questions. People don’t realize that questioning is a skill set, and the manner in which you ask questions in a conversation can help you build that connection. Get them to talk about themselves. As Dale Carnegie said in his book “How To Win Friends & Influence People” – people like to talk about themselves. Don’t make the conversation all about you, rather, make it about them. You’d be surprised how much people will open up when you make them feel comfortable, ask the right questions, and get them talking.

The next step

The next step is to add value, which is what you can do for them. Once again, this doesn’t mean what you can offer as a service or product, rather what can be given to them in conversation, in the connection you are forming. By adding value, you start to earn trust which then leads to building a foundation for a connection to go beyond a one-off encounter at a business, social, or networking event.

How you add value differs from person to person, so planning ahead before attending an event and knowing who you will be meeting is crucial. How you present yourself and communicate with those connections will determine if there is the opportunity to build relationships that will later turn into business growth.

Final Thoughts

The last thing you want to do is attempt to go for a sale prematurely. Bear in mind how many times you’ve walked out of an event only to find your business card on the floor or in the trash. Avoid going in for the kill as that will most likely kill your business. Build relationships to grow your business.

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