Last week was boring.
Well, it would have made boring reading. We had a Win-a-Mini stand at Wyevales and so talking to six people a day was easy. In fact I probably talked to 16 a day – and very tiresome reading that would have made.
Today was hardly any different: My networking club staged what they called a “Showcase” at Mercedes Benz world in Weybridge – 200 business people and as many old cars.
I’ve been to these things before and I know that the trick is to “work the room”. There’s no point in standing talking to the same two or three people for the whole time.
On the other hand you don’t want to rush from one to the other so fast that you don’t have time to get to know each other.
By arriving early, sitting down to breakfast, mingling in the break and hanging about afterwards, I came away with 15 business cards. They will all get a “nice to meet you…do drop in if you’re ever this way” email after lunch today.
(I’m told that the best chance of getting a business person to read your email is to send it on Tuesday or Wednesday between 2.00 p.m. and 3.00 p.m.)
Four of those 15 have DVDs and so I must call them on Wednesday – and there’s one who doesn’t have a DVD who is in the diary to call on Thursday. This is a recruitment consultant from Heathrow.
The way it happened was this: I had just finished a conversation and said to my latest new friend: “We’ll, we’d better keep networking” and then, looking round the room I couldn’t see anyone standing on their own.
When this happens the technique is to look for an “open” group – two or more people who have left a space in their group. Then you can go up and say – without waiting for a pause in the conversation – “May I join you?”
But there didn’t seem to be anyone like that. Then I spotted a young man walking quickly across the room. If somebody is walking quickly, you leave them alone. They’re on their way somewhere and going to say hello would be seen as an interruption.
But this guy reminded me of Joger Shoker. He had the same look of the fashionable young entrepreneur. Joger, you may know, is the phenomenal ex-burger-flipper who has taken this business by storm, going from QE to GD in a year.
As soon as I said: “Hello” the young man stopped and smiled in return. It seemed the brisk walk was a cover for the fact that he didn’t have anyone to talk to – I’m sure we’ve all done that.
“You’re David,” I said, peering at his name badge. “And what do you do?”
We’re all there to talk about what we do and so we had two or three minutes about his recruitment consultancy business and why he made himself available to his clients 24 hours a day. We agreed that the personal service and going the extra mile was the key to success. I didn’t tell him what I did but since we agreed so much on the fundamentals he had to ask me.
So I slipped seamlessly into my 1 minute 45 second presentation (with lots of pauses to make it seem like a conversation).
As I went on, I found him looking at me more and more keenly.
Finally he said: “I could do that.”
Later on, as everyone mingled before leaving he sought me out with a whole list of questions – everything from whether he could have a link on his website to how he would get paid when he introduced another distributor.
“D’you want to see how the money works?” I asked him – and we sat down to go through the Martini presentation.
Later on, as the Suffolk contingent drove home he called me with more questions and to assure me that his wife had the most amazing contacts: “Look, I will get back to you. I mean, I’m sure I’m going to do this. I just need to show my wife because we’d do it together and we’d need to decide whether to do it through the business or as individuals. I’ll get back to you. I really will…”
I played it cool. “That’s great,” I said. “Just go on the website and sign yourselves up. When you’ve done that email me your registration number and I’ll send you your business manual as a zip file – only don’t print it all out. It’s huge and you get a paper copy with your starter pack. “
Of course I wasn’t really as cool as I sounded. The idea of another Joger Shoker joining my team was enough to keep me bubbling all the way round the M25 and back down the A12.
The thing is that successful business people already have the energy, the focus and the drive that we try to instil in all new distributors.
So, on the strength of that, when we stopped at the motorway services for a sandwich, I went round giving cards to everyone in a business suit.
“Hi,” I said to each of them. “You look successful. I’m going to give you one of these because I’m always on the lookout for successful people.”
And they all said: “Well, thank you…”