How many events, mixers, or meetings do you attend? Coffee meetings do you schedule? Phone calls do you make? Emails do you send? LinkedIn messages do you post? Facebook pics do you share? Tweets do you make? Snaps do you chat?
Are you getting everything out of your business networking that you’re putting in?
Could be over an actual coffee. Or tea. But could also be over dinner. Drinks. In someone’s office. A cigar. Whatever. The point?
You might be setting up meetings prematurely or for the wrong reason.
Is it the same reason the other person is meeting with you? This is important. If you’re focused on selling your services and you’re not speaking with a true prospect (they’re interested in buying), it could be a waste of time. Especially if the other person doesn’t know they’re being viewed as a prospect.
(Related: 5 Business Networking ‘Musts’)
How many of these coffee meetings have you had that produced nothing? Other than coffee.
Qualify your meetings and protect your calendar. Be real clear as to why you want to schedule a meeting. There are only a few reasons. Either you view them as a prospect, they view you as a prospect, you can potentially refer one another, they’re already a customer or client, it’s an interview of some sort, a planning meeting, or social. That’s about it. Just be clear before sending that calendar invite.
Frequency as in wavelength (are we on the same wavelength?), not in terms of how often you do something (calling your prospects until they surrender).
Think about dog whistles for a moment. Dog whistles are interesting. They’re used to train dogs (and sometimes cats). You blow the whistle and humans can’t hear (or can barely hear) the high pitched sound. But dogs recognize the pitch and learn very quickly that you want them to do something. Sit, bark, roll over, etc. The sound is projected at a different frequency for dogs than it is for us humans. And it prompts a different reaction.
“Different reaction” is a breakdown when it comes to business networking. Imagine a private equity investor walking up to a business owner at a trade show and talking to them about investing in their company. The equity guy is talking about capital gains, succession planning, and ultimately landing a deal. The business owner just wants to sell more tomatoes through a major distributor. Different frequencies! Same thing if you’re an insurance agent going door to door canvassing a property and casualty policy. Or a mortgage banker pitching a re-finance opportunity at a networking event. This sort of thing happens all the time. Similar to not hearing the dog whistle you’ll also never hear from that business owner again.