I have some thoughts on networking including business cards and stuff.
For networking, you are basically going to events to connect with other folks who are in your industry or are hubs for you.
How do we do this?
First of all, I am more introverted than most people, I think. I can go to these events and I can do it and I can be a little exhausted afterwards depending on the event. There are a few things I want to suggest.
Networking Tip #1: First, go with somebody else; go with a friend. A friend will be able to talk you up in a way that you cannot talk up yourself. You can rave about your friend in ways which they cannot. If you go with each other, you can network for each other and it is a really fun way to do it.
Networking Tip #2: Network for Hubs. The second thing is one I got from Bill Baren, a brilliant guy. His thing was, “Don’t go networking for clients. Go networking for hubs.” I think this is one of the most brilliant thoughts I have ever heard on it. Don’t go networking for clients; go networking for hubs.
When you think about events, you are going to get strategic about networking. Do not go to the events where you will find a bunch of your clients. You want to be where there are people who are connected to lots of your clients and build connections with them.
Especially when we are talking about networking in person, you do not need to get anything from them. Just have a little bit of face time and build a personal connection. This does a ton in terms of the follow-up.
Just like with Phoenix Rudner, this realtor who focused on pet owners, when you think about all of those hubs, instead of thinking about just where the pet owners hang out, he could think, “Where do all these hubs hang out? Where do all these hubs get together in one place where I could just go to one event and meet a bunch of folks? It would be much easier.”
Networking Tip #3: Get their card. Third, do not just give your card to them, but get theirs, as well. I see this all the time with networking. People go to networking events and they run around giving out 100 business cards. It feels like they are accomplishing something, but I would say it is a false feeling of accomplishment. Of course, most of those people are going to get home and have no idea who gave them the 20 cards they got that night. They just throw them out because they cannot remember who the cards are from.
I just got a business card a while ago (pictured here – front and back). I want to suggest that business cards are not necessarily that useful. I do have some thoughts on how to use them and how to make them effective, but for years, for most of my career, I did not have a card. People would say, “Well, do you have a card?”
I would say, “No, do you have one?” and they would give me their card. I would make a note on it of something to send them: a pink spoon, a blog post, a video. It would be something useful for them that would start the relationship off with giving something generous.
Lorraine just introduced the new verb: ‘pink spooning’; nicely done. This is great.
I would get their card and I would leave the night with maybe ten cards. I want you to get that leaving with ten of their cards that you can follow up with is a lot more powerful than giving out 100 business cards. People do this. They go and they give out cards to everybody as if to say, “Hey, here’s my card. Could you throw this out for me?” That is what will happen.
Joseph has one on networking: “Do one-on-one networking. Have lunch and coffee with people you already know.” You are so ahead of the game. “Just make your intention clear. I would love to catch you up on what I have just decided to do with my business,” or, “I could really use some advice about such-and-such;” “I want to do some marketing and I want to talk to you about introducing me to your such-and-such.”
Yes, sometimes if I am going to meet with somebody, I will just say, “Hey, we should go for coffee. It seems that there might be a fit here of ways we could support each other. I’m not sure what it is, but let’s grab a quick, 30-minute coffee some time.”
Then you can have the one-on-one more intimate conversation which, I agree, is much better for introverts.
The thing is, if you go to an event where there are lots of people, if I think it is a significant hub or significant connection, and then I set up the one-on-one networking thing after that. You are already at events; you are already at parties or gatherings, probably. If you are going to do it, do it well.
Networking Tip #4: Get a business card that works. To find out how to do that, read this post here.