Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Shut Up, Step Back and Watch

Have you ever seen hyperactive networkers that just HAVE to meet the guy that spoke to the group? It's kind of funny. They kind of shake like a toy poodle as they stand in line to shake the speakers hand, share a few words, and then feel like they really accomplished something.

I just watched a number of fellow Power Breakfast attendees do just that in Charleston. I'm sure many of them were potential suppliers for the company the CEO that spoke runs, just like me. But what good is a quick word or two, the passing of a card, and worse yet; a little bragging about ones self and business going to to do for that networker hoping to make a connection?

Instead of joining the crowd, I did what a good friend, and much more seasoned salesperson told me I should do in situations like this; I kept my mouth shut, stood back and watched. My goal in attending the meeting was to get a good contact name for someone in this CEO's company that I could talk with about my products. I was hoping the CEO would be able to give me this information. But after standing back for a while I noticed a lady that kept attending to all of the CEO's needs. She hovered around him, handed him papers, and and so forth.

No one was paying any attention to her, so I walked up and said, "He keeps you busy doesn't he." With a smile she said, "You have no idea." She then went on to tell me she was the CEO's personal assistant. After we talked about some of her responsibilities, I asked, "Could you help me with a question?" She said she'd try. I then told her I needed to know who to talk to in her organization that would be interested in my products and then told her what I do and how I can help her company. She gave me the name I needed, took my card to pass on to the fellow she asked me to call, and then gave me her card and told me to call her if I needed any more help. Goal met!

Shutting up, standing back, and keeping my eyes open netted me a better contact than the one I went to the breakfast with the intention to meet. Two points to ponder:

1. Don't be so anxious
Take your time when networking.

2. Look around
If you're only focusing on the "target" you came to meet. You may miss out on a great opportunity to meet someone you didn't even realize could help you.

Image: fspugna

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