Building a priceless business relationship entails creating a series of progress-based impressions. None is more important than the first. Make sure your first meeting with someone is progress-based and powerful.
Remember, people meet people all the time. You need to stand out as someone they want future contact with. To do this you must Be Progress in their mind. You must be a Progress Agent.
Here are 10 quick tips for delivering solid first impressions from Cracking the Networking CODE.
1. Do not try to do major business deals (save that for later).
Do not rush new relationships; think LONG TERM. Do not SELL! It is a mind-set. Be subtle. The worst thing you can do is try to start selling someone something as soon as you meet them.
2. Be an Early Bird and a Late Bloomer.
Never be late. At a networking event the ten minutes before things get under way and the ten minutes after are the real golden moments. So arrive 15 minutes early and stay 15 minutes late.
3. Always stand when meeting someone new.
It shows respect. What else can I say about it?
4. Hand in hand.
In the business arena, handshakes are the accepted greeting. As a rule, I would advise against initiating kisses or hugs in a business setting. Take the handshake seriously; you will be judged by the quality (limp/firm, moist/dry, lengthy/brief) of your handshake. Above all, a handshake should be firm, but not bone-crushing. No dead fish handshakes. They’re creepy.
Note to men about shaking hands with women:
Don’t wimp out on the handshake. I often hear from female professionals I am working with how some men will offer them a lame “I don’t want to hurt you – you delicate flower, you” handshake. Be a man. Shake the hand.
You can avoid delivering a cold, wet handshake by keeping your drink in the left hand. If your hands tend to be clammy, try spraying them with antiperspirant at least once a day. Also, try carrying Kleenex in your pocket and drying your hands discreetly from time to time. To really put yourself over the top, shake hands good-bye as well as hello.
5. Travel light.
In most cases, there is no need to take your briefcase or even a purse. You do not want to have to put down all that stuff (brochures, briefcases, or handbags) and dig out a business card. It’s also tougher to move around or look comfortable and easygoing with your arms filled with your company’s propaganda. Remember, you are there to connect, not sell.
6. Meet. Talk. Get card. Go.
At a networking event, talk to one person for about four to five minutes – eight minutes maximum. Get their card, take some notes, and work toward a comfortable conclusion to this initial conversation. Hogging someone’s time is an inexcusable no-no. If you cannot find a natural way to end the conversation, introduce the person to someone else. It’s a win-win. You help them connect with someone new and you get to move on without appearing rude.
7. Do not act desperate for business.
People want to talk to upbeat, confident people. You will not create any priceless business relationships if you act like you don’t have lunch money. Treat people as worthy of your respect and courtesy, not as targets.
8. Carry /use breath mints or those dissolving strip things (not gum).
Halitosis is bad for business. Good breath is a must. And as for gum, smacking anything at a networking function is discouraged.
9. Communicate that your network rocks.
Talk enthusiastically about the cool, neat, highly productive and witty people who are already in your network. This will encourage others to want to be in your network too, because you will speak of them in the same positive way.
10. Who wants a drink- e-poo?
At conferences, conventions, trade shows, and business-after-hours functions (often organized by the local Chamber of Commerce and held at a local business establishment), it is common for there to be alcohol. I encourage you to consider not drinking at these events, or at least know your alcohol limit and not get anywhere close to it. Sure you want to be remembered, but not as the loud jerk who couldn’t hold his spirits and spilt red wine on Judge Jacob’s new power suit.
Crack the Networking CODE
Recognized as a ‘Sales-and-networking guru’ by the Dallas Business Journal, Dean Lindsay is the founder of The Progress Agents (http://www.ProgressAgents.com) – a seminar company dedicated to empowering progress in sales, service, and workplace performance.
Dean's best selling book Cracking the Networking CODE: 4 Steps to Priceless Business Relationships has been endorsed by a who's who of business leaders and performance experts including Ken Blanchard - author of The One Minute Manager, Brian Tracy and Frank Bracken, the President and COO of Haggar Clothing Co.
Jay Conrad Levinson - the author of Guerrilla Marketing, thought so much of Cracking the Networking CODE that he wrote the book's foreword.
A cum laude graduate of the University of North Texas, Dean presently serves on the Executive Advisory Board for UNT’s Department of Marketing and Logistics. The Dallas Business Journal selected Mr. Lindsay as one of D-FW's Rising Stars Under Forty in The Business World Today in their yearly Forty Under 40 list.
More info at: http://www.ProgressAgents.com or 1-877-479-5323