What To Do At the Business Mixer

This is part Six of the Relationship Networking series.  Here are some things to think about while you are at the business mixer.  

Why Networking?

Why do people go to Mixers?  They usually come focused on what they want to get from the evening and are definitely not coming to a Mixer to buy something.  One often hears people saying “I didn’t get one bit of business out of that mixer.”  Is that surprising?  NO.  The goal of networking is not to sell, but to get more people to know us, like us and trust us.  That way, they are more likely to buy from us or refer us when the time is right.  So NO SALES PITCHES!

First Things First

Get there early because it’s easier to connect before the crowds gather and the noise level rises.

No juggling – stash the purses and briefcases.  Do your eating; then do your networking – or skip the eating.  If you have a glass, make sure you are close to a table where you can put it down.

If people are standing in non-inclusive groups, look for others who are alone and introduce yourself.  Or just push you way into the group with a joke about joining the club.

First Contact

How will they get to know us, like us and trust us?  Help each person you meet get what she wants or needs.  And in order to do that we must find out a lot about her and her business.

Give the person you are speaking with your full attention – be present in every way.  Get to know him, be interested. Look for opportunities to help with his business.  Focus on the other person, not on yourself.

 

The Frog and the Prince book

Accept that there will be frogs, princes and toads!  (Darcy Rezac’s Frog and Prince)  If you encounter a toad, get over it and move on.  We have all experienced the guy who tears in and plasters the room with his business cards and promptly leaves.

Introductions

After introducing yourself, be sure to discover his name.  Take your time here so that you get it right.  Exchanging cards now is useful for those of us who are visual.  Then proceed with getting to know each other with some very general questions:

  • Have you been to this event before?
  • How long have you been a member?
  • What do you know about the speaker?

Ask About Her Business

Here are some questions that will help you can get to know her:

  • What business are you in?
  • What significant changes have you noticed in your industry recently?
  • What do you see as the coming trend in your business?
  • What about your business, are you most proud?
  • What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?
  • How would I know a good prospect for you?

Notice that these questions are all about him, not you.

Offer Your Help

Often, you become aware that you know someone that would be a good connection, or you have some information that would be helpful. Offer it, and make note of it on the back of his business card for follow up later.

Where Do We Go From Here?

You will often discover there is potential for further discussion:

  • This may be an ideal client for you and she expressed mild interest.
  • There could be potential for collaboration – you know that some of your clients often need his service.
  • You are very interested in her service for yourself.
  • Something about him really resonates for you.

In all of these cases it is good to check out her interest in a further meeting.  Then make note of that on her card and follow up within the coming week.

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Please share techniques you have found to be successful for you. 

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