Recently I was flying home from an event in Denver, and had an incredible experience with a fellow passenger. Let's call her Ann, not her real name.
Ann and I both noticed each other sitting at the gate. We were the only two dressed in suits, obviously she had just finished a business deal and I had just finished a training.
We started talking, and I noticed a couple things immediately. Although professionally dressed, Ann's professionalism and A-game stopped there. She reeked of booze and cigarettes and was obviously drunk. Still I wanted to hear why she was celebrating.
Ann just pitched her services to a company and she felt they were going to make a decision soon. I was a bit perplexed why she was celebrating, but apparently it was her normal behavior. Combine her current state with her constant bragging and one-upsmanship, and Ann was a volatile cocktail of disaster. She had completely turned me and everyone around me off.
To make matters worse, Ann spotted a high value prospect and was getting ready to approach him. I was about to stop her from blowing an opportunity when someone else listening and observing her actually intervened and stopped her because of her current state of being.
This begs the question, do you have your A-game on, and shouldn't it be on all the time. While this was an extreme example, the answer is an absolute YES. You never know where opportunity will strike, and who you will impact. So always, always have your A-game on.
Don't be an Ann. Bring your A-game always, and in all ways!
What’s the most effective way to find new prospects, make new friends, expand your circles of influence, and set yourself up for success professionally? The answer is obvious – network, but very few do it well.
Here are the 5 mistakes people make when networking, and what you can do to significantly improve your success.
1. Going to the same events & meetings week after week with the same people
2. Spending the majority, or worse yet, the entire time with friends
3. Collecting names and numbers, and not spending any time building rapport
4. Not having a solid, value-based, follow up strategy in place
5. …and the cardinal sin – going to get, not give
The first two are all about comfort zone. Professionals are funny because they want success, but the pain of failure and rejection causes them to stay in their comfort zones, i.e., friendly situations and environments. A friend of mine proved this to me when they said, “I’m looking forward to “X” event tonight. I get to see all my networking friends.” What a waste of time. You must get out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and go to new events or greater success will never follow.
Here are 5 strategies you can use immediately to drastically improve your networking success!
1. Find events on LinkedIn sign up and go. Don’t limit yourself to your immediate city of town. Get in your car and drive an hour to an event
2. Sign-up on Meetup.com, and look for events to attend. Better yet, be a respected leader and start a Meetup group, and create your own event.
3. Use LinkedIn, facebook, and Twitter as search engines. They are all about building relationships. Find your top dream prospects, connect with them, and build a relationship.
4. Define your follow up strategy and execute it. At a minimum; connect within 12 hours on LinkedIn, facebook, and/or Twitter – ideally use your smart phone and do it on the spot. Send them a follow up email, and highlight something you talked about and setup a one-on-one coffee or breakfast meeting.
5. Everyone hates the man or woman who clearly only has the “what can you do for me” intentions. You can see them a mile away, and just cringe when they approach you. Relationships are a place to give, not receive. If you want more, give more. Give them something of value, like a referral or connection to someone who can help them.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Do something different. Change your approach, get out of your comfort zone, go to give, and follow up with value. I promise you’ll have radically different results, and a far richer life.