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Networking Made Easy
I recently had the privilege to attend an event held by Kerryn Powell from Your Time Matters. Kerryn works with businesses to help develop better communication tools. This is achieved thru networking events that provide an opportunity to have one-on-one conversations, add value and build fantastic relationships.

For me, one of the great take-aways from this event was the realisation that it does take on average seven interactions or touchpoints for a prospect to become a customer. Meeting a prospect for the first time and expecting them to become a customer tomorrow rarely happens. When I look upon my path to developing that customer relationship, it has nearly always taken seven or more ‘conversations’ to achieve this.

Knowing what it takes to establish a customer relationship, your focus needs to be on maximizing your impact in order for those potential customers you are engaging with to either use you or recommend you!

Kerryn provided a cheat sheet of sorts – networking made easy – that helps to prompt conversations where you can really learn about the other attendees and see who you can add value to their business rather than simply talk about what you do and offer. The questions were categorised into 3 groups, Ice-Breakers, First Encounters and Bridge Builders.

The Ice Breakers help to start to build a connection and provide you with some useful questions to work thru that awkward first meeting silence. An example of an Ice-Breaker might be, What other networking events to you attend?
Now that you know a bit more about your potential customer (and more relaxed), First Encounters delves deeper into building your rapport and starts to better understand your prospective clients’ business. You could ask them What is your background and how did you get into this business? Keeping in mind this is about them and their needs.

Bridge Building leads to detailing how you might be able to help your prospective client, by understanding their business and best ways to work together. Problem Solving – now we are here to help! This might come in the form of a a question such as what are your top 3 priorities this month?

These questions and many more Kerry provides, is a great way to build trust, connections and relationships in order to achieve the conversion goal. An honest open conversation that comes from a place of give rather than take always results in more rewards.
When you understand people, where they have come from and their problems you are better able to help solve their problems or as importantly, recommend your network to them.

Of course this is an abridged version of what was discussed at Kerryn’s event, you can attend them in Brighton last week on each month and in Rowville the first week of each month. There are many networking groups out there, remember to choose yours based on what you want to get out of it and who you want to be around. See this article how to network for business for more networking tips.