This is the forth and final post in the series looking at Networking and Referrals. The series is based on a presentation by Ron Gibson of Go Networking that I recently attended.
This post is looks at how to get the most out of networking meetings. In particular it gives you 12 questions that you can ask of someone you have just met for the first time. Now you should not be asking all 12 questions when you meet someone, the idea is that they give you a starting point to build rapport with the person you have just met.
- What is your connection with this group?
- What brings you here today? These first two are nice easy ice breakers
- What would make this event valuable for you? This provides an opportunity for you to provide a service.
- Who would you most like to meet while you are here today? This gives you the opportunity to introduce them if you know the person they want to meet.
- How do you spend most of the time? This gives the person you are talking to the opportunity to decide what they want to talk about it could be work related, family or a charity. Regardless it gives you an oportunity to understand them a little better.
- What is going well for you? Again another oportunity to the person you are talking with to decide what they want to talk about.
- What is the biggest thing you are working on now? Are you seeing the pattern here, these are all open questions which provide the person an opportunity to talk.
- Tell me about the kind of challenges you face in your business? This provide you an opportunity to see where you can potentially help.
- Where did you grow up? Always a good fallback questions if you are struggling to find common ground to talk about.
- Are you on linkedin/facebook/twitter? Choose the social media platform that you use as a primary method of communication. Follow this up with a request to connect with them.
- Who can I help you? This question and question 12 you have to earn the right to ask. If you have not built up some rapport the answer will be no and any opportunities lost.
- Will I every see you again? This is the big question, everything is building up so you can ask this. But you can only ask it if you have built up some rapport.
- How do you feel about getting together for coffee next week?
- to share ideas or
- To learn more about each others businesses.
The final question Will I ever see you again is the next step in building the relationship and should be your goal with anyone you meet. Networking is all about building relationships, and as with any relationship this takes time, it could take 3 or 4 meetings at the coffee shop before you see any results, or it could take 6 months of regular catchups.