How to CRUSH IT at Your Next Networking Event

Posted 03/14/2015

I hated them, well, until I learned what I am about to share with you.

In the beginning, I would show up to the events and everybody I bumped into was pushing their product or service with one hand extended to shake my hand only to extend the other hand out to shove their business card in my face.

And this was followed by the same redundant question, "So how's business?" Oh how I hated that question over and over, especially during the start up days. The standard reply was, business was GREAT!  What a bunch of crap.

I hated it because business was, well, near non-existent. I was grinding it out. During the day I was going door to door begging for work, counting how many doors would get slammed in my face only to return home to get washed up to get to the these joyous events.

Well, that was how it felt until I came across Bob Burg's book Endless Referrals. A friend mentioned it to me at a Toastmasters conference, which I strongly recommend if you have never been.

In Bob Burg's Endless Referrals, he shares loads of valuable information, and here are the key steps:

  1. Decide beforehand which three key businesses or people you would like a strategic business relationship with and seek them out specifically. Being a Painting Contractor, they might be a Realtor, a Condo Manager, or a Handyman.
  2. Upon meeting them, get completely interested in them. Yep, you heard me, them. Your goal is to learn all you can about them. Get them talking about themselves until they are blue in the face. Do not talk about yourself. And do not hand them a card until they have first handed you one, and they will almost do that right away, which by the way, should have your picture on it. While doing so, here are three questions to ask with the third being the grand-slam:
    1. How did you get into the [type of] business?
    2. How long have you been with this company?
    3. And here is the question that with change your relationship world if you genuinely ask it properly: "[Person’s Name], how would I know the perfect referral for you when I come across them?" - Listen and write their answer on their business card.
  3. You have just asked them the most important question anybody has asked them all day, but you are not finished yet.  Now, interview two more key contacts at your event. Remember your goal is three.
  4. Now you’re teed up nice and high to drive the golf ball down the fairway 300 yards! I am not a golfer, so let's say the bases are loaded and your home run hitter is up to the plate and their pitcher is exhausted. Here is the final step to completely CRUSHING IT! After the event, upon returning to your car, you will have a small box with four items readily available in it:
    1. Envelopes
    2. Stamps
    3. Note Card (Include a small picture of yourself and a logo on the right-hand side)
    4. And a blue gel pen. Why Blue? It's the most attractive color.
  5. Take out your blue gel pen and your note card and before you leave the parking lot, write the your 3 key contacts a note saying: "Hi [Person’s Name], it was a pleasure to meet you at the networking event. When I come across (Enter their perfect referral here), I will be sure to refer them to you! Warmest regards, [Your Name]"
  6. Now, get the notecards straight to the mailbox, even better if they receive them the next day because when they do you knock their socks off!  Just think, when was the last time they received a handwritten note card from a painting contractor? I'm guessing slim to never. Now, how about one that doesn't say "I'm never too busy for your referrals", but instead says, If ever I come across (Enter their perfect referral) I'll be sure to send them your way.
YOU, my friend, have just become their favorite Painting Contractor!

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