• Chris Gadson

I Hated Networking, Then I tried These Things


After weeks of screaming into the abyss and hearing nothing, it was time to tune up my client acquisition strategy.


This meant that I was going to have to put on my big boy pants and face the monster that I had been avoiding.

One that makes a staggering amount of people's skin crawl, not just mine.


A monster that I would soon learn would have to be an essential key for my business to grow.


Here's how I made the "networking monster" one of the greatest allies for my business, and how you can do the same.





Do Your Homework!



Man at networking event



I took months of me completely blowing it to realize that I needed to put a reliable system in place to make good connections.


But, where was I going wrong?


After fumbling through one awkward interaction after another, I came to an embarrassing conclusion: I hadn't done my homework beforehand---and boy, did it show!


Trust me, networking isn't one of those things where you can just "wing it" and hope for great results.


You have to be strategic.


After you sign up for a networking event, find out what types of businesses are going to be in attendance.


From there, ask yourself 3 key questions:


  1. Are these businesses part of my target audience?

  2. How can I show them the value in what I do?

  3. How can I make it about them?

No one wants to have their time wasted. If you don't know who you're about to approach, how they can benefit from your skills, and if you do nothing to make them comfortable, what's the point in going?


After you sign up for the networking event, start your research.


At least get a general understanding of the businesses that will be there and the people who represent them.


This will help your interactions flow more naturally and feel less cheesy.


This is step one in slaying the "networking monster".




Slow Down, Partner!


Time and again I went to networking events and belted out " I'm a freelance writer" at anyone that showed me any hint of an interest.


Guess how that went?

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Whether this was due to nerves or, just plain foolishness, I quickly learned that this was not going to work.


I mean, I could LITERALLY see the person's face changing from passive interest, to utter distain.


Why was this?


I came in too hot.


A simple conversation should always be the approach.


Everyone knows when another person is trying to sell them on something.


INSTANT turn-off.


Some of the most valuable working relationships that I've ever had have come from people that I had a regular conversation with, not from those who I was trying to sell my services to.


Think of it this way, selling something may get you a customer for a day, but building a relationship will have you a partner for a long time.


Even if the person can't directly benefit from your skills at the moment, they may know someone who will.


Don't dive in too fast.


Have a conversation and get to know your prospects.



What's Your Brand Story?





One of the biggest mistakes I was making is that I told prospects what I did, as opposed to telling them the story behind it.


People love stories, the emotion of every detail, the suspense, it all tugs at us.


It's easy to just say hi my name is ____ and I'm a _______.


How many times has someone replied with some version of "Oh, Okay..." after you told them what you do for a living?


I'll bet that its happened to you way too often.


Why is this?


Because stories are how we connect to each other.


Telling your brand's story is a way for your prospects to get a personal snapshot of you and your business.


Stories pull us in. They hold our interest and keep us on the edge of our seats.


For example, here's my brand story:


"My love of writing takes me back to the eighth grade. My classmates groaned in boredom at the idea of another writing assignment.


Me?


This was my opportunity to create something. No one could tell me how to do it. There was no formula to follow. It was just me, my imagination, and a pen.


I wanted to do this as an adult for other businesses that have different passions, but they don't necessarily have the ability, or the time, to express them.


I'm a content architect, I build ideas from the ground up."


See what happened here?


Didn't that make you feel a deeper connection to me and my business?


That sounds waaaayyyy better than "I'm a freelance writer."


One statement is a plain, dry hamburger. The other, Filet Mignon.


Which one have you been giving to your prospects?

 

Networking doesn't have to suck.


You can do it successfully if you have the right plan in place.


Know who you're talking to, focus on building relationships, and tell you brand's story effectively.


You're connecting people to your passion, not trying to "sell" them.


What have you tried to do in the past that hasn't worked?


I'd love to hear your stories!


Send me an email, and let's talk about it!















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I've talked to many people since I first opened, and I would say that more than half of them are TERRIFIED at the thought of writing. Why? Is it because of bad spelling? Poor grammar? Is it not being