Feb 6, 2024 | Sales & Networking | 0 comments

Networking has been around as a buzz word for a long time

Sales & Networking | 0 comments

Kathy Hoover

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Networking has been around as a buzz word for a long time.

In the late 1980’s and 1990’s is when it became the main way to gain new professional connections, new prospective clients, new ideas and new social contacts.

Many times we leave an event feeling on top of the world because we made new connections, handed out our business cards, collected cards from others and we felt our time was well spent. Let’s explore a little more in-depth how to make sure your time is well spent.

When another business owner invites you to a Networking Event, what is your reaction?

  1. Great! I need to meet people in this community.
  2. Well, it won’t hurt to go, however I am not sure that just meeting people will benefit me.
  3. Or, What time and where? What should I bring? Is it more casual or is their a more formal program?

The first response shows eagerness and is one of the reasons to attend an event. What is doesn’t show is what you are bringing to give at the event. The second, either shows you are an introvert and moving into an uncomfortable situation, or you don’t see the value in what you are attending. The third response, is a business owner who prepares to make the most of the benefits of networking.

Benefits include:

Building Social Capitol*

“You’ve heard of financial capital, but do you know about social capital?….Social capital is the accumulation of resources developed in the course of social interactions, especially through personal and professional networks. These resources include ideas, knowledge, information, opportunities, contacts, and of course, referrals.”*

Prospective Clients

Further Opportunities to expand your Visibility… Opportunities to share your wisdom and experiences with other professional partners Here are a few tips that have benefited me over the years at a Social Networking Event— I plan to attend by making sure I have my business cards accessible but not visible. Create a little mystery about yourself and don’t be too eager to simply push your card into someone’s hand. Be sure to ask for their cards after you have asked them questions about themselves that allow you to decide if you want a connection with them going forward. Here are a couple of Questions that will begin you on your journey of discovery: Tell me about you and your business. How long have you been in business? What types of clients do you usually work with? Where are you located and what radius do you serve? How did you get started in this field?  Remember, it is a chance to connect, not interview or interrogate someone! Allow the conversation to flow like a river past a couple of these questions. We all like talking about ourselves and our activities, which is great for the introvert who isn’t sure how to begin the conversation.

Action Plan:

You are investing time into an event, if you don’t take action after the event, you have wasted valuable time. What is your action plan for following up? Did you set the next meeting with those you connected well with? It is a beginning opportunity to be visible.

I have mentioned visibility a couple of times in this article. Because attending an event provides exactly that, it makes you and your business visible. What you do with the connections you made after the event is what will move you into a profitable position. Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Write a hand written note (when possible) letting them know how much you enjoyed meeting them. This will allow you to be more than just visible.
  2. Schedule a time if applicable to visit their business. Show interest in them first. It will eventually create interest in you.
  3. Find a way to make a connection that would be beneficial to their business. A prospective client or another business connection in your connections. This is the law of reciprocity in action. However, this should never be the reason you take action of this sort.
  4. It takes 3 connection points (meetings, coffees or notes) to make a strong connection. Face to face is always strongest.

With all this activity after 1 networking event, be strategic. Don’t just go to everything so people SEE you doing a lot. Especially today, people want to know you, and your passions. Choose carefully the type of Networking events you will engage in. Ask yourself, what are my interests? Who is my target market? What do I want to be known for? Align myself with? How will this event align with my business growth plan? This leads to Quality Connections and makes you excited about attending an event, even if you are an introvert by nature. *A concept shared in Networking Like a Pro written by Ivan Misner, David Alexander and  Brian Hilliard

Kathy Hoover
Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay, Inc. Director Consultant Northern Indiana Region of BNI
Kathy’s Connection Hub: https://linktr.ee/kathyhoover Email: Kathy@kathyhoover.com

Kathy has traveled the world to begin businesses for others. She is an experienced Sales Director with over 35 years of experience in Finance, Marketing, Business Management, Inventory Management and is a CEO of her Mary Kay Organization. She leads teams of women and men in both her Consultant Roles and coaches them to success. She is highly skilled in Interpersonal/ Public Communications, Teaching, Sales, Retail, Business Coaching, Skin Care, and Color Applications. She is also a sought after arts and design professional with numerous professional certifications and awards. Kathy enjoys giving back to the community. She has been instrumental in building an Adult Day Care program from the ground up that is still in operation today, serving as a volunteer, Board President and Fundraiser. She has worked with the Optimist Organization as well as mission trips.

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