Once you have set up some meetings, it’s time to do a little prep work. This first step will take the most time, but you only have to do it once. The other two steps are ultimately important as well. With a little thought and practice, you will realize and reap their benefits!
Have a Clear Message
This next step in the process may seem almost a side step. In fact, it may seem so obvious that you will want to brush it off or glaze over it; your answer to this question is very important.
What is your message? By message, I mean what makes you notable or memorable in the minds of the people you sell to or service. Yes, this is part of your marketing, but the ability to express your messages in conversation is one of the foundations of successful networking. It is an issue that I find so many networkers fail to consider, let alone master.
Anybody, Somebody, Nobody
Of all the faux pas and missed opportunities in all of networking, missing this one is the success killer: You must know WHO you NEED to meet. Remember, networking is all about making connections. You must have a clear idea of whom you would like to connect with. The real issue is, you must be able to ask for them SPECIFICALLY.
Do Your Research!
Preparation for the meeting involves doing research on the person you are meeting with. It’s a huge waste of your time to simply show up and small talk you way through breakfast or lunch. For the meeting to be of value, you do want to know some key things about them before you meet.
When you can scan through someone’s LinkedIn profile, I guarantee in just two minutes, you will gain some significant information about him or her including mutual connections.
The goal of your research is to identify three different things you didn’t know, or you think are fascinating, or that you have in common. Write them down and bring them to the meeting.
Relationships are the backbone of business success. Rob Thomas has proven that who you don’t know is costing you.
In his book, Who Do You Need to Meet, Rob Thomas unlocks the secrets of his Rob Thomas Method™ (RTM™) of networking to provide readers with an easy, logical, systematic and actionable process for efficient, successful networking.
Some of the ingredients in the RTM™ secret sauce include:
- The #1 Rule in cultivating business relationships
- How to identify your Top 10 business connections
- Why your message matters
- Questions to ask and what their answers tell you
- How to qualify the potential of a new connection
- How to re-evaluate your existing connections