Networking Events — Why you don’t go to them

Networking events are a great way to get new business. These events are filled with people who are fellow business owners, local government officials, local media, and other individuals who are highly networked. My guess is that you already know that you should be going to these events but you aren’t. If you want to get more bookings you need to be in front of the people who can hire you.

My guess is that one of the reasons you don’t go to these events is because you don’t “know anybody”Really that’s just an excuse to cover the fact that you don’t like to network. Yes, its uncomfortable and awkward, but I’m going to tell you exactly how to get over it. As a performer you have a natural skillset to navigate these types of social situations. Most businesses don’t get to immediately demonstrate their services– but we’re very lucky because networking events are exactly the type of environment that we’re hired to perform in!

Here’s what I say whenever I approach somebody at a networking event:

“Hi, My name is Leif. What’s your business?” or
“Hi, My name is Leif. What do you do?”

Here’s the psychology of why it works. Immediately it puts the pressure on them to do the talking which lets you relax. They’ll tell you about their business and it gives you an opportunity to think about what you can offer them that they will benefit from. Do they work for a company that has Christmas parties? Customer appreciations? Conventions? Now this is where the magic happens…. now that they’ve told you what they do, because they’re a polite person and because they dislike networking as much as you do, they’re going to put the ball back in your court by asking you what you do. Well, now you can explain to them that you are an entertainer and you can tell them all about the shows that you offer that they could benefit from. At this point in the conversation its a natural segway to show them some magic. (Some them some of your “A” material that always gets a strong reaction, you want to leave them with a lasting impression). Once you’ve performed a couple tricks, hand them your business card and request one of theirs as well. On the back of their card write down any necessary information you collected from them. Now you’re free to move onto the next group.

Interesting Side note: I picked up this technique while studying “The Mystery Method: How to get beautiful women into bed“. Just like we do with our close-up magic, by controlling the social situation with pre-selected questions and responses we can direct the interaction in exactly the way we want. We get this sort of “god-mode” where we can see into the future and know exactly how people will react. In this networking example we very rapidly get exactly what we want out of the interaction. We 1) Introduce ourselves 2) learn about them and their needs 3) Show them some magic which we know they will love 4) Give them our contact information 5) Collect their contact information 6) Follow-up with them later on.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that I get at least 1-3 SOLID leads from each event that I attend, and I usually make contact with a few more people who could possibly benefit from my services later on that year.

You may have read the business mantra before that you need to “Reach the right person, with the right message, at the right time“. With traditional advertising your message is being directed at someone but you aren’t getting any feedback. There’s no guarantee that its reaching the right person, and even if it is the right person there’s no guarantee that its the right message to match their needs. When you speak with someone face to face you solve both of these problems because you get the opportunity to ask them directly! You can find out exactly if they have the ability to benefit from your services and you can ask them what their needs are and tell them about your show services. Many of the people at these events attend month after month, so it also allows you to touch base with them and remind them about your services solving the third problem– getting your message in front of them at the right time.

My First Little Secret

Here’s my pet peeve. Every business person knows that you should be collecting business cards from the people that you network with, and that you should also follow up with them. I’ve been attending networking events for about 10 years now and I can count on one hand how many times somebody has sent me a follow up phone call or email after the event to touch base. And this is from people who should know better!

Please, please, please, don’t be one of these people. Collect business cards from people, and when you get home send them a quick email. Thank them for taking the time to speak with you, remind them about any services that they could benefit them (based on your conversation with them), and direct them to your website and newsletter sign up form.

Generic sample follow-up email template:

Good evening Courtney,

My name is Leif David from Ali K. Zam Productions, we met at the Networking After 5 event tonight at the Art Gallery.

You mentioned that you are hosting an event on November 26th that could benefit from some magical entertainment. I have another show in the early morning on that date, but I am available in the afternoon or evening for your event.

For more information on my show options please visit www.BCmagician.com. To reserve your date please fill out the form on my site or give me a call at (phone number).

I look forward to crossing paths again in the future. If you’d like to stay in touch you can sign up for my eNewsletter at www.bcmagician.com/information/newsletter-sign-up/ or on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/alikzam

Thanks again,
Leif David
Ali K. Zam Productions – “Magical Entertainment”
Telephone: (phone number)
Website: www.BCmagician.com

With a simple email you’ve started to build a relationship with that person and you’ve given them an opportunity to easily contact you for a booking, visit your website, or stay in touch. If you use this email template as a starting point you can email everyone you met that evening in 15 minutes.

Even though they gave you their contact information that doesn’t give you permission to automatically subscribe them to your newsletter. Do you really want one of their first interactions with you and your business to be receiving unsolicited spam messages? Of course not. Use their contact information with respect and courtesy. 

My Second Little Secret

Even though you shouldn’t automatically subscribe somebody to your newsletter, it is perfect acceptable to send them a friend request on Facebook, or add them on other social networking websites. Just use their name and email to send them a request. Some people may ignore your request but if they don’t they will receive your messages on a regular basis. This is a great way to extend your business relationships online, build your brand, and send your marketing message.

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