I was talking to a contact recently and used the phrase “Selling through the room” They said they did not know what this meant. I realised that, in any industry, we use jargon that we assume others understand, and I had just fallen into that trap.
I have a belief that responsibility for successful
communication is with the person doing the communicating. I had used “selling…” phrase before and have
assumed that the person I was talking to understood the jargon. So, in the past
week, I have reviewed all my presentations on networking, my blogs, my postings
and the notes I use when having a 1-2-1. I have made a commitment to taking jargon out
of my communication, or at least not assuming everyone understands the jargon
Someone happy to ask the question “What does that mean?” has
really helped me to improve my communication.
And, by the way, the phrase “Selling through the room” means doing business with the contacts of people you meet, not necessarily the contact themselves.
I do a lot of networking and I treat each event as a
business meeting, and I always prepare for business meetings. At each event there is the possibility that I will
meet the best contact I have ever met, and that’s what excites me about
Here are three stages I use:
The first stage is prior to the event: when I accept an invitation to an event, I book some extra time after the event into my diary, so I don’t have to rush off. If there is s delegates list I look through and see if there is anyone I would like to take more time to talk to and I will contact them and ask if they would like a 1-2-1 after the event.
If there isn’t anyone who I want a 1-2-1 with at that time, then I can just spend more time with people at the event.
After the meeting I move into stage three, I continue to develop
the relationships with people I have met at the event. First, I email everyone
who’s card I have and thank them for their time, ask did they find the event
productive, send them any information I have agreed to send them, sometimes
this is information about one of our Groups, sometimes information about the
ad-hoc networking events we arrange that are not part of our core business. (I always ask someone when they give me their
card if they are OK with me sending them information) Occasionally I will
suggest a 1-2-1.
Whatever the email says I always make contact after any
event, and yes it takes time, but since the point of networking is starting and
developing relationships, it seems obvious to me that this is part of successful
My business is business networking, we have Groups who meet
every two weeks and there is membership. We also have a maximum number in
Groups of 25 and our Groups start small and grow organically to that number.
When people contact me about visiting a Group one of the questions I am often
asked is “How many are in the Group?” To me this is based on the idea that the
more people you have in a room the more chances there are of getting business.
That has never been my experience.
I have been to networking events of over 600 people and a)
You could not hear yourself think b) It was all sell, sell, sell and c) I did
some great networking with the small group of people who sought peace in the
My Groups are small, start small and remain under 25, and we
do have a waiting list so I could choose to get more into some of our Groups.
Why this decision? When I network I want to meet people who are there to build
relationship, share knowledge, give support and then, when there is a strong
mutual trust, refer people. The important part of this is building
relationships, and I think this is best done, at any one time, with a small
number of people.
As a business owner, it could be argued, that I should want
to get really large Groups and make the most money. I disagree. I want my
members to get the most from the business networking they do in their Groups
and from the membership they pay. Within any one of my Groups there is a ‘Feel’
almost impossible to pin down but based on a mutual support of each other and
on the strong relationships that have been developed. So, what I want for the
members in my Groups are not just numbers of people there but of people who
understand that building relationships is the most important thing about business
networking. This is not a numbers game.
I recently met someone at a business networking event who
said “I don’t have any business cards, because I think they are a waste of
money” he went on to explain that people tended to remember him and, if they
wanted to know anything about his business, they would find him if they
searched online. I was amazed. My business is business networking and so that’s
what I do. In a working week I can meet perhaps a couple of hundred people and
whilst each person I meet is memorable in some way, I’m human so people I haven’t met before can be forgotten
or I can misremember the name of their company. When making contact with them
after the event it is the business card that is vital Why? Because I look at
their business online, look them up on Linkedin and connect*, and then make
appropriate contact by email. Appropriate? Some people may have asked to attend
one of my meetings, others have asked to be invited to our corporate events,
and some I have already met, and we are along the road of building a strong
Anyway, back to the business cards. I know that these days
people have various ways of collecting information electronically from the
business cards of people they meet. That is great, but there needs to be a
business card to collect the information from. So my advice to people who don’t
have business cards, or people who just have a telephone number on theirs?
Accept that we are all fabulous and all forgettable and help others help you
and your business by having a business card, it won’t be a waste of money.
*Recently told about ‘Find nearby’ on Linkedin If you, and
the person you are talking to, both have the Linkedin app on your phones: both
open them, tap the My Network tab. Tap Find nearby at the top of the screen.