This article is about people feigning interest in what you have to offer, which is accompanied by the undeniable feeling that not enough people want your expertise. Ruth provided us with a wonderful testimonial* and here’s why.
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Speednetworking sharpens your knife
I met Ruth at an exhibition, which had a half hour speednetworking session. You have to get to the point quickly when time is so short. We both participated. Until then, Ruth hadn’t actually realised that her networking strategy had been unproductive yet had felt that nagging doubt that, when people smiled and made polite comments when she told them what she did, ultimately they had no idea just how beneficial Ruth’s business could be to their lives. One nagging doubt and many missed opportunities.
Ruth had been telling people what she did and no-one was taking any significant notice. There had been follow up cups of tea with some, further meetings with others. Yet the inevitable had happened. People had unsuccessfully tried to sell to, or build a strategic partnership with, each other after meeting at a networking event…repeat ad infinitum. It’s a very common strategy yet I don’t think it’s adopted on purpose. It’s the strategy that befalls everyone who hasn’t designed their own. Let’s call it networking auto-pilot.
What’s in it for me?
Like most people Ruth had been telling those that asked “what do you do” about her role. Nearly everyone does that…..partly because “networking” businesses encourage them to. And partly because nearly everyone does it, networking auto pilot again. Yet it’s not even answering the question. Hardly anyone tells the enquirer what they do. Never mind enlightening the enquirer about what they might find useful in the “I do this” box. Auto pilot ensures the answer is more about the role than the ultimate purpose of that role.
People don’t really want to know what you do. They really want to know what you do that will benefit them…..or their family, friends, colleagues. Their network. Hard and soft benefits are useful because hardly anyone I have met does only one thing for one person. Most people provide hard tangible benefits and the vast majority provide additional soft intangible benefits. I’m open to challenges on that point. So test me out by making a comment below if you think there is a role out there that involves doing only one thing.
Hard benefits, Soft Benefits or no benefits?
Hard and soft benefits allow you to capture the interest of people that need different things. Ruth can now say one simple sentence to two, or more people, at the same time and have them both want to pay her for different things.
Ruth can mix it up too. Because no-one does one thing and some are enormously skilled, how you answer the “do” question can vary depending on who is listening. An FD will have different goals from a HR Director. Telling the FD what the HR Director needs to hear will leave her thinking that she doesn’t need what you offer. Yet the HR Director will fall over himself to get his hands on what you offer. Because nobody else has offered him what you have. Not even his current supplier who are competing with you for pounds that could be in your sales figures. Additionally, Ruth has a handful of things she could say to different people. Whilst Ruth can’t help the World, she can say specific things that grab the attention and the interest of the right people.
So organising your networking is partly about saying compelling things to people that need your services. And then following up with those that paid proper attention or were actually interested.
This doesn’t waste time like those that are telling people what their role is called and following up on an all or nothing basis.
Perhaps you’ve wondered why inferior providers are getting the deals you deserve?
Maybe those that get the most from your services don’t “get it” when you first talk to them?
Annoyed that exhibitions have proved a waste of time?
Worried that your team are networking yet their follow up is not working?
We deal with these concerns, and others about networking, on a weekly basis.
*”Jason helped me to make my networking time more productive. He allowed me to understand the ‘hard and soft benefits’ that my clients achieve when working with me. Following my training session, I was able to implement a workable follow- up system to separate contacts from exhibitions and networking meetings into different groups. This advice has been invaluable.”
Top tip: When people ask you what you do, articulate what you that is good for them.
Wrap up: Not everyone wants what you do, yet nearly everyone knows someone that does.