Cocktails Anyone?

Published on January 2, 2002

Who says you can’t make money attending cocktail parties? Just ask Debbie Rearley, a Titan sales executive for the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhatttan hotel. A few months ago, Debbie met an executive of a major retailer at a cocktail party. In their conversation, the retailer talked about the need for space to interview associates they were looking to hire for their new location.

After finding out the critical needs, Debbie then passed the ball to Sales Manager Alyson Schutzbank who took the lead and closed the deal. A deal in which space was booked for over a period of 3.5 months and generated revenues in excess of $500,000!

You don’t need to wait for a cocktail party for this to happen to you. Networking has been one of the oldest tools used in the history of mankind to generate business. There are two common types of networking situations you will find yourself: Event Networking and Referral Networking. This month, we will provide tips on Event Networking. Next month we will deal with Referral Networking.

Event Networking occurs anywhere anytime. You don’t need an established event to network. Anywhere you go, there are hundreds if not thousands of people you will meet who can become your next customer. The question is are you always on the lookout for new opportunities or do you let these opportunities pass you by?

4 Tips For Successful Networking:

1) Show You Are Interested in Them- The best way to show your interest in others is to ask them what they do, how’s it going and what challenges they face.

2) Lead With Your Resource Proclamation- When describing what you do, concentrate on the outcomes (benefits) people receive from working with you versus the services (features) you offer. In Debbie’s case, she wasn’t selling space, she was selling a solution for interviewing candidates.

3) Take Responsibility for the Follow-up- Tom Winninger, a colleague and friend, once told me he never carries business cards. When I asked why not, he said never put the responsibility for follow-up on the prospect’s shoulders. They usually lose the cards and many times they won’t pro-actively call. What he recommends, and I have been doing ever since, is simply ask the prospect for their card and tell them you will follow-up.

4) Carpe Diem- Seize the Moment- Networking is not rocket science. All that’s required to succeed in networking is taking advantage of opportunities, and to know that everyone you talk to is a potential opportunity. Maybe they can use your service, maybe they recommend you. Either way, they can help grow your business.

Trouble is most people don’t take advantage of all the opportunities in front of them. Titans do! Debbie Rearley and Alyson Schutzbank are valid examples of what networking can bring you, eve at social events. Cocktails anyone?

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