The following was written to illustrate the power of networking which produced a wonderful “chance” meeting in a winery tasting room between myself, my business partner, and a Director of Human Resources for a Silicon Valley based bio-tech company. Allow me to outline the components that led to us making a great contact.
In Survival Kit Tool #2 Networking , the idea is to bring awareness to Realtors that networking is to Realtors’ marketing campaigns what location, location, location is to the industry: the main focus and most vital aspect of success. But in order to understand networking and how it works you must first understand three simple facts: time, location, and preparedness.
1. Time: More precisely as in almost any time is the right time to network. If you adopt this anytime rule then you must recognize that your business success becomes a part of who you are when you “show up” in the world. This simply means that when you engage people you keep your mind open to shifting from leisure to business.
2. Location: Nearly any place at nearly any time can bring a solid opportunity to network with people. You can be in your dry cleaners, at the grocery store, working out at your health club, standing at gas pump, waiting in line at Peets for your morning brew, or wine tasting in the Napa Valley. Remember that when the opportunity strikes what is important is the fact that it is an opportunity regardless of the time frame or location involved.
3. Preparedness: When that opportunity to connect presents itself will you be ready? Will you have a precise, succinct 10-20 second message (pitch for you salespeople) that both informs and excites your audience? Can you deliver this message without it sounding “sales-ish”? Are you prepared to give people something so compelling that they will ask you: “Can you tell me more about this?”. . . “That sounds interesting how does that work?” . . . “How do I find out more about this?”.
When you can elicit responses like the three above, after giving someone your 10-20 second message, then you have paved the way to open communication leading to a successful connection.
How did we make our powerful new connection with a Director of Human Resources for a Silicon Valley bio-tech company? It was simple and natural by applying the three concepts. First I always remain open to a shift from leisure to business. Nearly any time is the right time concept.
Our new friend arrived at the tasting room, after a moment of conversation with the server, and made a business related remark to her friend obviously a co-worker. Understanding that the comment was an open topic between my about to be new contact, her co-worker, and everyone in the tasting room, I seized the opportunity and asked her ABOUT HER BUSINESS. Simple yet lost is the art of asking others to talk about themselves-we all love to be recognized.
Second, our location in a winery tasting room should never be a deterrent to responding to an open conversation which may lead to a connection. Whether we were in a boardroom, laundry mat, or winery tasting matters very little. What matters is the opportunity, when presented, should be followed up on in the moment in that place.
Third, once I engaged my new contact I was prepared to listen to her description of her business. She told us she was a Director of HR for a bio-tech firm in Silicon Valley and she was with her counterpart and friend based in the midwest. The two were celebrating a successful year with a one day trip to Napa Valley. The friends and co-workers were enjoying a wonderful afternoon, they were talkative, and they were more than willing to participate in conversation.
Upon completing her description (with me supporting her by nodding and acknowledging her information), my new friend was ready to provide me with the same opportunity to connect AND I WAS PREPARED.
I described my new business launch for innerarchitect.com, our focus, and the results we experience when we apply our concepts to the corporate environment. Upon completion of my 20 seconds I immediately introduced my business partner. Our new friend told us she was interested in providing more employee enrichment education and that she was interested in our concept.
Consequently my business partner took over the description of our seminar, workshop, and training programs. I stepped back and listened. At the end of their 5 minute conversation, we all shook hands and exchanged contact information. I had a business card with me! Our new contact did not so she used one of my cards to write her contact information down.
There you have it in a nutshell. I was prepared with my message and my cards, I was open to networking regardless of our tasting room location, and I was willing to make the shift, at any time, from our leisure activity to business conversation. Networking on the fly? No just simple and open communication that anyone can practice, prepare, and execute in order to optimize every facet of their life.