Scenario #1: You’re at a business networking event, and are approached by an enthusiastic woman. She says to you, “You really need to try my vitamins. You’ll feel healthy, more energetic, and get more done every day. When would you like to set up an appointment to meet?”
Scenario #2: You’re at a business networking event, and are approached by an enthusiastic man. He says to you, “You know a lot of people, right? Here are 5 of my business cards for you to give out to people you know.”
Scenario #3: You’re at a business networking event, and are approached by a man. He says to you, “Have you ever heard of my company? It’s been around for 24 years and was founded in a small town in Northern California where the trees are tall and the land is wild. It’s in this wilderness that a new vision was born, a vision of prosperity, a vision of hope, a vision of endless possibilities. Our founder was born in 1965 in a small town in Massachusetts. How did he get from Massachusetts to California? I’ll tell you the whole story…”
If you’ve ever been to a networking event, it’s likely you’ve encountered at least one of these scenarios. So how have you dealt with them in the past? Often, we just let these well-meaning folks monopolize our time, which leaves us feeling resentful that we spent all evening with a self-absorbed bozo who never even asked for our card.
Sometimes we cut them off and walk away. Not a bad solution, but it still defeats the purpose of networking, which is to create connections.
Try the following responses the next time you’re cornered.
Scenario 1. “I don’t need your product now, but if you can be specific about the kind of client you’re looking for, I’ll definitely keep my eye out for them. Give me one of your cards so that I’ll have your information when I cross paths with good referrals.”
Scenario 2. “I really love referring the people I know to the services they need, but would need to know more about who your ideal client is. If you can be specific about the kind of client you’re looking for, I’ll definitely keep my eye out for them. I’ll keep one of your cards so I can send them your way.”
Scenario 3. (interrupting them) “Let me stop you for a second, if you don’t mind. I do want to know more about what you do, and what would be most helpful to know is specifics about the kind of client you’re looking for, so that can keep my eye out for them. Give me one of your cards so that I’ll have your information when I cross paths with good referrals.”
You’ll notice a common thread through them all, of course. Each of them positions you as the expert networker, someone who is interested in connections and service, even when approached in a less than professional manner.