My "Tomato Seed Pack" Post ExplanationAnd no, it has nothing to do with planting a garden...
The Full Story
Hey there! Thanks for asking me what the heck I’m doing holding a pack of tomato seeds and why I look so darn happy doing that!
Well, if you know me, you’d know that I came from a business background spending over 24-years in sales and marketing before I got into voice overs. But I have to tell ya, I’ve learned more being an entrepreneur in the past few years, than in the previous 24.
I also attend about 8-10 in-person networking events each month, so I’ve learned a thing or two about networking.
Which brings me to the point of this pack of tomato seeds. A famous networker once said that Networking is more like farming than hunting. It involves a lot of planting seeds – or connections – then it is about asking anyone for work – or hunting. I agree 100% with this philosophy.
Think of it this way. If one seed from this packet takes about 5-6 months to yield fruit, why would you expect a new connection – either someone you met in-person or online – to purchase your product or service right away?
People need to know, like, and trust you, before they’ll even consider buying from you. So the next time you’re out and about or scouring the internet for business opportunities, remember to think like a farmer, and not a hunter, think long term, and you’ll have a nice crop of tomatoes before you know it.
Oh, and look below for a list of my top networking tips. If you have any of your own, feel free to add yours in the comment section below.
In-Person Networking Tips & Tricks
- Have a realistic goal before attending the event – if there are 100 people there don’t expect to have more than 5-6 good conversations. Think quality over quantity.
- Your name tag always goes on right side of your chest – so it’s visible when you shake hands.
- Shake with your right hand, firmly (no limp wrists or as hard as you can), and just long enough so you can tell the colour of their eyes – any less and it’s too quick, any longer and it gets weird.
- Have some interesting openers other than “so, what do you do.” Be creative, such as “what brings you here tonight,” or “what did you enjoy most about the speaker.” If you want more inspiration, check out Jan Keck’s #askdeepquestions
- You should have a 4-word answer to “so, what do you do?” Mine is “I give your business a voice.” A realtor might say “I help families create memories.” For a background on this topic, visit Mark Evans’ blog post here. (other similar articles here about your elevator pitch, or this guide to helping you build a better elevator pitch)
- Be yourself. Be genuine. Be friendly.
- You’re not there to sell!
- Don’t be a wallflower. I’m an introvert by nature but you need to force yourself to be outgoing for the time you’re there.
- Always try to leave a lasting impression by using a joke, some personal/professional insight, or a relatable personal story.
- Give before you ask – ie never ask for business before you’ve provided some kind of value to the other person.
- Don’t show up once (ie. to meet-up groups, masterminds, BNI, or chamber of commerce events). People need time to gain trust (know, like, trust), so commit to a group or not.
- Always, always, always, bring lots of business cards – and have cards in your car and with you at all times. You never know where you’ll meet your next connection.
- Always ask for a business card before offering yours – never just shove it at someone. Couldn’t be ruder!
- And obviously, don’t just drop your cards and run. Remember, you’re looking for quality connections versus quantity.
- Take notes on the back of the card you received – what caught your attention, where did you meet (for tracking in your CRM), any follow-up, etc.
- Take a quick look at their business card before putting it in your pocket and comment about something noteworthy or something you like about the card (ie colour, design, graphics, printing, size, thickness) – anything that stands out to you. People LOVE compliments.
- If they don’t have cards with them, ask to connect on Linkedin by getting out your phone with the Linkedin app open, and asking them to find themselves. But, before sending the connection request, customize the text with an identifier for the event so it’s easier to remember where that connection came from.
- If you want to meet potential clients, go out to where they go – either business or social events – even trade shows/conferences. And don’t forget to think outside the box – there are leads virtually everywhere depending on the market you’re going after.
- Remember, it’ not about you stupid! You’re there to meet people and learn about them, not spend the whole time talking about what makes you special.
- Make your conversations/connections personal. Ultimately it’s not just about business. Forget B2B, think H2H (human-to-human).
- Finally, when you get home, add them to your CRM. Also, a good idea to invite them to connect on Linkedin and plan a follow-up email/call/meeting. Don’t automatically send a friend request or follow request on other social platforms like FB or IG unless the relationship is mutual as those are more personal than Twitter.
Any other tips/tricks you’ve found helpful?