If you have any questions about business networking, referrals, target marketing, public speaking, developing your social capital, or tax shelter options (kidding), just ask! I may be able to provide answers that help you grow your business. I’ll post them right here on 3 Minute Rounds.
Here are some questions I was asked during a recent webinar for property and casualty brokers.
Who’s going to win McGregor or Mayweather?
Mayweather in a landslide. I don’t even think McGregor will lay a glove on him. Whole thing is a farce. It’s all just a big money grab. It goes the distance – decision Mayweather.
If you make a bad first impression by selling your services to someone at a networking event, is there any way of repairing the damage?
You are correct. It isn’t the best approach to pitch your services to those you meet at an event. They probably didn’t go to the event to get more liability coverage. It’s more likely that the contacts you make are looking to grow their business (like you!). If you took more of a hunting approach (I’m pitching you my services) versus a farming approach (let’s talk about our respective businesses and if it makes sense, develop a relationship around referring each other leads), there may be some collateral damage – as in that guy you tried to hunt may never want to talk to you again. What to do? Simply apologize for coming on too strong and say that you want to start over. Then ask questions about them! Learn more about their interests, associations, initiatives, business, hobbies, and future plans and see where that goes.
What if you are invited to offer a quick sales pitch by a networking partner at an event? I have not ever been shy to do so but it sounds like that is – in your mind – not truly appropriate or effective.
Probably not, especially if you don’t have a connection with the attendees. But it depends. Relationships always determine what is appropriate in terms of promoting your products and services. It’s always about the connection. In the scenario you described, a sales “pitch” wouldn’t be addressed to the audience at the event but rather towards specific connections they have. “I’m always looking to be introduced to CPA’s that….” Remember, those you meet are not your prospects until they say they are. Might be best to say something like, “Like you, I’m here to grow my business. What I provide is…. I’m always looking to meet…. It would be great to meet some of you and learn more about your work and see if there is an opportunity to help one another.” Again, each situation is different so it really depends on the positioning of the host, audience, your relationship with the host, and the context of the meeting.
Could you give a little more insight about following up after a networking event?
Follow up actually begins when you’re in the “presentation phase” or when you’re still face-to-face with those you’ve met. If it makes sense to follow up (they’re a potential client, you’re a potential client, you’re each potential referral partners, or there is some other evident reason you both recognize) then initiate that follow up call or meeting right then and there. When you send a follow up email or make a phone call the next day (24 hours, next business day, or when you both might decide), it will be well received. Remember, you don’t have to follow up with everyone you meet – there has to be a good reason to do so.
In a networking environment almost everybody is looking for business (many times including me), how do you overcome getting the business without giving the business. i.e. if you target law firms, you can’t give every law firm your business.
Yes, you have to pick and choose the right people to give the right business to at the right time. Not every business opportunity is necessarily right for every law firm or whatever. Have an “abundance mentality”. Maybe you can establish an unwritten rotation that keeps things fair. Keep in mind that you’re not the only P&C broker in town. Those you meet will know at least one!
I’m new to the insurance industry and am not confident to discuss business yet but still want to get to know people to expand my pipeline. How do I work a room?
The short answer is to start with the coordinator of the event you might be attending. Find out what they do and what their objectives might be. Chances are they’re in business too. Then let them know about your work and who you’re looking to meet and see if they can introduce you to someone that makes sense. Then go from there. With everyone you meet, begin by asking questions about them and they’ll no doubt ask questions about you. Keep it light and then discuss work and what you’re looking to do. Then try to brainstorm ways of helping one another. You won’t connect with everyone you meet so just focus on those you like best and can help most. More importantly, get up to speed quickly on your own work acumen!