The Edge for February 2018
Now is a good time to brush up on your networking skills - with the state’s top business networking event, the N.J. Chamber’s Walk to Washington, coming up on March 1 and 2. We have asked some members of the N.J. Chamber, the ones we consider some of our best networkers, to dish out their secrets on meeting people and developing prospects. Their answers are below (and if you want attend the Walk to Washington, you can get more info and register by clicking here):
Get Their Business Cards, and Write Notes on the Back
Always bring business cards and when you get one, write a note on the back indicating where and when you met the person. When talking to somebody, look for something you have in common – you are both members of the Chamber or you both have been on the Walk to Washington. When I follow up with that person later, I think about what we have in common. Follow up on LinkedIn. Maybe they can be a prospect or they know someone who can be a prospect. One year, on the Walk to Washington, I met someone who introduced me to someone who became my firm’s biggest contract of the year.
– Art Hendela, President, Hendela System Consultants
Get to Know the Person, Not What they Do for A Living
At a networking event, don’t go into a conversation asking direct questions about what a person does for a living. Get to know the person as a person because people want to work with people they trust. Also, set goals going in to a networking session. The goal may be to meet five new people or connect with people you previously met. And if you see somebody you already met, bring up something you learned about them before.
– John Borgese, Director, Corporate Alumni Relations, Seton Hall University
Introduce People, and You Will Become Known as a Networker
Before going into a networking event, brush off negativity and say to yourself that something good is going to happen today. Pick up at least two business cards, follow up with your new contacts and set up breakfast or lunch with them before the next event. Try different (networking) groups and see where you feel most comfortable walking over to say hello. Not every group is for everybody. I belong to three different groups with three different sets of people. Introduce people to other people and then you become known as a networker, and people will call you when they need something.
– C. Beth Krinsky, Senior Vice President, Broker/Sales Associate, Weichert Commercial Brokerage
A Connection Must Work Two Ways
For every ten people you meet, one or two will develop into strong connections - and that’s enough. Down the line, those strong connections will introduce you to their connections. And remember that the connection has to work two ways. You have to help each other.
– Jose Fabrizzio Orozco, Vice President, Business Development Officer – Ocean and Monmouth Counties, Provident Bank
Don’t Look at Your Phone
Find one friendly face of one person you know that is going. If you start a conversation with them, they will introduce you to other people and then you are on your way. Or introduce yourself to the organizer of the event, and usually they are able to introduce you to people. And don’t look at the phone. That is a conversation killer.
– Kim V. Vierheilig, Vice President, LAN Associates
Hang out by the Food
Hang out by the food table and when you bump into somebody, say, “The food looks great.” And maybe find something in common. After that, I’ll ask them, “How do you reach your audience?” I will follow-up with somebody if they have a service or product that is helpful to us. We are looking for partnerships.
– Tori Kramer, Communications Assistant, Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters
Elevator Pitch Must be Under 30 Seconds
Cultivate friendships. The people I’m talking to may not need what I’m selling, but they may have a friend or a brother or an associate who does. Be open, be friendly, have realistic expectations. Introduce yourself and start small conversations. Traffic. Weather. It’s a handshake and a greeting. And be ready to give that elevator pitch. It has to be under 30 seconds.
– Sara Andreyev, Vice President, Business Development, Ontrak Solutions
Be an Advisor, Not a Salesperson
Dress appropriately. If you are not sure, choose business professional. Arrive early because you might feel more comfortable approaching people before the room gets crowded. Grab a beverage, say hello and start a conversation with the person next to you or seek out someone who is alone. Actively listen. Know your elevator speech, but be an advisor – not a salesperson. Offer advice or helpful tips. Avoid discussing polarizing topics. Follow up shortly after the event with a quick e-mail or an invite to connect on LinkedIn so you can start building a relationship.
– Yvonne Trella, Senior Marketing Specialist, BDO USA, LLP