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Business Networking - 10 Common Mistakes Series (Part 1 of 3)

June 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 172

It is important to understand that networking is bigger than casual conversations at a business event. It is more than an escape from the day-to-day mundane routine of business. Even though you may experience both, networking is so much more than that.

In this three-part series, we look at 10 common mistakes made when networking. The purpose is three-fold: 1) to bring awareness to what networking is all about; 2) to eradicate those mistakes; and 3) to change mindset and see networking as a legit format for growing your business.

This article in the first series addresses 3 of the 10 common mistakes made at networking events. These mistakes can be costly. Avoid them by being astute and knowledgeable in the networking arena. These common mistakes are:

  1. Lack of preparation
  2. Attending the wrong event
  3. Having a weak elevator-speech

1. Lack of Preparation:

In my rookie days of networking, I followed my self-imposed belief that wearing appropriate business attire and having enough business cards would ensure walking away with potential business clients. I was on the wrong track! It wasn't long before I discovered that networking needed a deliberate action that required strategic planning.

Being adequately prepared gives you a roadmap that spells purpose and direction to increase your ability to ultimately achieve amazing results. Even before stepping into the event room, be sure to have a well-thought-out plan to guide your actions while at the event.

2. Attending the Wrong Event:

In case you are wondering how is it possible to attend the wrong networking event, let me assure you that if your prospective clients don't hang out where you are, then you are at the wrong event. Follow the trail; attend events where your target market gathers. Your ultimate goal is to market to the people who need your services or products.

Be selective and clearly define your target market. Blindly throwing out darts hoping to hit the target is a high-risk approach that yields little result. This hit or miss method is fruitless and unproductive. Instead be deliberate in your intentions. Without a plan, you are wasting time and resources attending events hoping you will make it big and rope in a few clients.

So, be intentional and purposeful seeking out events that your target market attends.

3. Having a Weak elevator speech:

The name "elevator speech" is used when you meet someone on the elevator, and have 15-30 seconds to introduce yourself and tell him/her what you do and the benefits you can provide. This means your message must be succinct flavored with at least 1-2 benefits identified for your target market. Consider your elevator speech or unique selling proposition as your introduction. Here is an example of my elevator speech:

"My name is Marilyn Thorpe. I work with entrepreneurs to build strategies to reach higher levels of performance and profits."

Your elevator speech is based on key facts about your product/service, its performance and value to your target market. You can have different variations of your elevator speech depending on what product or service you are marketing at any given time.

The elevator speech is valuable. It communicates the essential and beneficial aspects of your business to others. The purpose is to create interest so that the individual sees how he or his company can benefit from your services. You must perfect the art of giving powerful elevator speeches so that there are no hesitations, glitches, or stumbling. The words should flow evenly. Keep in mind that a powerful elevator speech can open other doors for you. Once you have created interest, be prepared to answer further questions that could possibly lead to a follow-up meeting.

As you craft your elevator speech, have a goal in mind as to the outcome you are trying to achieve or attain. All the while, remember these key words: specificity, freshness, succinctness, creativity, and value.

This concludes part 1 of the 3 part series on the "10 Common Mistakes Made When Networking".

Authored by Marilyn Thorpe, Success Business Coach, Trainer, and Consultant. I work with small business owners and teams that are ready to build strategies to reach higher levels of performance and profits. Visit my website: for more details on my business success programs. If you need help applying these steps to grow your business, please contact me at 301-617-0846 to set up a free 1 hour phone strategic session.

Source: EzineArticles
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