Taking the Eeek! Out of Networking as an Introvert
Networking: the mere mention of the word can send shivers down the spine of many a business owner, particularly for those of us more introverted in nature. Normally the last thing on our “to-do” list is to talk about ourselves!
In this article, I’m going to show you how you can bring new opportunities and partnerships to your business without angst by taking the “eeek” out of networking as an introvert.
FACT: Introverts ROCK at Networking
We do! But our energy does drain fast if we’re not strategic in how we approach networking. We need a smarter approach that leverages our natural strengths.
Networking is not a numbers game. This is why introverts can flourish. We prepare, research, and look for deeper relationships with fewer people rather than looking to connect with everyone.
Please join me in welcoming Susanna Reay as our Beyond Introversion guest blogger. Susanna published her groundbreaking book, The Introvert's Way, and now shares her insights and tips to demystifying networking for introverts. Enjoy!
It’s important to understand that networking is a long-term marketing strategy that grows over time as you develop the know, like, trust factor. This is why speed networking is futile. It is aimless because you want your ideal prospects to chase you, not you to chase them. Your goal is to have your people seek you out and ask to work with you.
I’m going to show you how to make this happen by sharing my 3 steps to networking success: Planning, Preparation, and Post-Event Process.
Step 1: Networking Planning
Before you even step into a room, whether virtual or in real life, to get the most from networking it’s important to plan and define the following elements:
Share Your Spark and Be You. Do not put on a suit of armour and try to be the person you think others wish to see. Gone are the days when power suits ruled. People want to connect with people, regardless of business type or sector.
Remember Your Mission. When we need to do something for our business that we may not initially feel like doing, such as stepping out of our comfort zone and into a room of strangers, it’s important to remind ourselves why we set up our business in the first place. This is likely to be around sharing your talents, and your expertise with those that need the solution you offer. Selling is serving and others out there are looking for a guide. That guide could well be you, if only they knew about you.
Know Your Clients' Trigger Moment. In the business world, there is much talk about your ideal client avatar, demographics, and such like. But at the end of the day, the single most important aspect of your clients that you need to be attuned to is their trigger moment. What has happened in their life when they reach the point that they say “I need to do X” and look for a solution “Y” that you offer? Our job as experts is not to convince prospects that they need our solution but instead to show we recognise the problem they are facing, then present them with the solution that meets the problem in a simple and secure way.
Define Your Big Message. This is the message that you say when you get asked “What do you do?”. This is your core message and is a complete story loop that shows the main problem, your solution, and the ultimate end goal your clients are looking for. Planning out and memorising your big message, will bring confidence to you in all networking situations plus many other areas of your business life.
“Most introverted entrepreneurs struggle to sell their services and talk about what they do, so I’ve created The Introvert Way® online training programs that help coaches & consultants package up their expertise to scale. When you clarify your offers, word starts to spread about your company and your business grows.”
PRO TIP: Take a moment to write out what your big message could be, following this sample format.
Step 2: Networking Preparation
The next step is to prepare for the event itself, rather than just ‘winging it’ which can bring endless anxiety to the best of us! My three best strategies here are:
Decide Your Goal. Before attending any form of networking, be clear about what your purpose for that session is. Are you looking for a particular type of contact? Are you looking to make friends? Are you looking to deepen a relationship with someone you’ve only met once before? All these goals are valid, as is a goal of just having one in-depth and interesting conversion. There is no need to take two minutes with 30 people in the room, as that rarely has any ripples in your business.
Identify Amplifiers. Amplifiers are the people who you see at the hub of any networking event, these are those people who have been in circulation around the business sphere for years and have a huge network you can tap into. Amplifiers adore connecting people with others
Decide on Event Signposting. What is your call to action at the event? This will be closely aligned to your goal. Maybe it’s to ask people to follow you on Instagram, connect on LinkedIn, subscribe to your podcast, or sign up for an upcoming masterclass. Make sure you keep this clear and focused, one action at a time. Do not ask people to follow you everywhere. Pick the platform you are focusing on right now in your business and start there. If you are running a new training soon, then talk about that and ask people to share it with others who may be interested.