I consider myself a hardcore introvert.
You know how I know? At the time I’m writing this, the whole world is in the middle of the COVID-19 quarantine, and I’m enjoying every single second of just being at home.
Now that commuting to work is no longer a thing for now, I have more time on my hands to focus on what I really like to do, like writing these articles for my readers.
But as much as I like to keep to myself, I miss going to my regular networking events. To me, meeting new people is fun, and discovering new businesses is exciting!
Speaking of networking, recently a fellow copywriter asked me if I ever cold emailed to get clients. I told him that I’ve never cold emailed before and all the clients I’ve worked with I met at networking events and they approached me.
And then he asked me how I network. Unfortunately, there are still some people I come across who network terribly in my opinion. So in a few moments, I’ll share with you how I approach networking events.
I’m not saying my way is correct, it’s just an approach that makes it fun for myself. And I know this has nothing to do with copywriting, it’s more about building relationships with other people which is the concept I combine with my copywriting.
And some of what I’m about to share can be applied to your marketing too. With that said, let’s start.
Generally, there are three different types of networking events (at least where I live):
1. Happy hour networking events: These events always take place at a bar. It’s crowded, it’s exhausting, and the music is so loud that by the time you leave your vocal chords are destroyed. You’ll certainly meet a lot of people in a short amount of time, but conversations tend to be short because people want to talk to as many others as possible.
2. Small, unrecognized networking events: These are networking events that are new, attendance is pretty low, but it’s very intimate. It’s so much easier to have deeper conversations with other people that you won’t really have at happy hour networking events. This is my personal preference because it’s less exhausting for me, plus I don’t have to scream.
3. Virtual networking: If you’re stuck at home, there are ways you can network online. One of the ways I network online is using apps. Right now, I use Shapr and Bumble, which is a dating app but they have a feature for professionals too. From my experience, there are a lot of people in the MLM, Forex, and cryptocurrency industry. Other than that, you’ll meet some decent people.
Now when I go to these networking events, there are personal ground rules I follow:
“Avoid talking to people in suits.”
You might think that sounds discriminatory , but the more I go to networking events and talk to people in suits, the more I think my personal rule should become a universal networking law. If you’re wondering why, it’s because 9 times out of 10 they’re either in an MLM business or in the insurance industry. But that’s strictly speaking from my experience. Of course, there are exceptions. I’ve met people that wear suits and they’re great human beings!
“Quality over quantity.”
In my early days of networking, I was taught that I should talk to as many people as possible and keep the conversations to a maximum of two minutes only. Although I did get a lot of business cards, I lost touch with pretty much everyone I briefly spoke to.
Now I focus more on talking to only a handful of people, but engage them in conversations that go deeper than, “Hey, what do you do? Let’s exchange business cards.”
Now that that’s covered, it’s time to go into my actual process.
1. The approach
Find someone who’s not wearing a suit, duh. If you’re uncomfortable doing that or you see that nobody is available to talk, something I like to do it is find two people that are already having a conversation, stand next to them and wait for them to finish their conversation, or ask, “Hey, can I join you guys?” I promise you the answer will always be yes.
2. The “What do you do,” but more
When you start a conversation you’ll hear the classic networking question: “What do you do?” Most people will keep it short and if you do the same, the conversation is going to end quickly. So what I like to do is tell people what I do and why I do it. This opens up an opportunity for the conversation to go to a deeper level. And to be honest, I can’t take all the credit for this. I got this idea from a woman who hosts her own small intimate networking event. Shoutout to Irina!
Then if you want to take the conversation further, ask other questions or share personal stories. They can even be non-work related, which I try to do a lot of times. If not, you can save that for a coffee chat which I’ll get into in a few moments.
3. Follow up
After the event, reach out to the people you met and let them know you had a fun time talking to them, only if it’s genuine of course. If there was anyone you didn’t have a good conversation with, don’t even bother following up. Chances are, they have no interest in keeping touch with you either.
And if you feel like you didn’t talk to someone enough, invite them to a coffee chat, which is basically what it sounds like. You meet someone at a public place, like a coffee shop, and just talk. This is one of the best ways to get to know someone better. You literally have 30 minutes to one hour of distraction free conversation with them. Take this time to learn what they do for work and what their personal life is like. You never know, you might find some things in common with the other person.
Basically, just talk to them as if you’re making a new friend.
4. Build the relationship
After the coffee chat, don’t stop there. Keep building that relationship, and there are so many different ways you can do this, but here are some of my favorite ways.
Invite them to other networking events and go together.
Keep in touch with them on social media. Interact with their content.
If they host their own events, attend them and show your support. The more you show up, the better.
Join their email list.
Ask them to be on your email list. That’s a list building tip right there and they’ll remember you when you constantly show up in their inbox.
Introduce other people to them.
Well, after you’ve done all the above, what can you expect then? The answer is…
Don’t expect the people you’ve built relationships with to give back to you, otherwise that’s just disingenuous and they’ll think you have an ulterior motive for associating with them. The worst thing that’ll happen? You’ve burned the bridge with that person. Maybe they’ll gossip about you if they’re that type of person.
The people you meet may or may not become a customer.
They may or may not refer other people to you.
They may or may not become your business partners.
But at least you’ll have a new friend. Someone who’s (hopefully) truly supportive of you and your business journey. That’s rare to come by nowadays, and you’d be a fool to throw that way.
That’s the end of my method of networking. If you’d like more business tips like these as well as copywriting tips, email marketing tips, sign up for my weekly newsletter. When you do, you’ll also get a free copy of my e-book, “5 Steps to Create Money Generating Emails.” It’ll teach you step-by-step how to write compelling sales emails that convert.
About the author:
Hi, I’m Ellisen and I’m a copywriter. I help businesses make more sales by building relationships with their audience through old fashioned email. I have a website called EllisenWang.com. When you go there, you can optin for weekly copywriting, email marketing, and business tips. I’ll also send you a free e-book called “5 Steps to Create Money Generating Emails.” It teaches you step-by-step how to write converting and compelling sales emails. If you don’t want to optin, you can also read through my blog and listen to my audios for more marketing content.