Tip #8 Be Consistent

This is the eighth in a series of 10 tips about networking based on a phone call I received.

You can read the seven prior tips and a little bit about the conversation that prompted this series on prior blog posts:

Tip #1 Participate Fully In the Event

Tip #2 Set Realistic Networking Expectations

Tip #3: To Feel Comfortable – Serve Others

Tip #4: Dress and Act the Part

Tip #5: Have Fun!

Tip #6: Don’t Take No Personally

Tip #7 Say Nice Things About Others

Tip #8 Be Consistent

I think it is very important to have multiple income streams.  Depending on one source of income is downright dangerous, I think.  But even if you don’t have multiple businesses, the reality is that your company may be expanding services and product lines.  Staying nimble and being in the position to take advantage of opportunities is very important for the sheer survival of your business and career.

In networking, when you are concentrating on making relationships and being remembered for “something” the best way to not be remembered is to be the person who stands up at a networking event and tells the group about multiple business in the span of a 30-second commercial.

Hey, I’m a big fan of Sir Richard Branson and his various ventures and frankly, I think we should all emulate him.  However, telling us that you represent an incoherent cache of efforts is just confusing and makes every effort seem unimportant and makes a person seem not successful enough in any of them.

Gain power in your networking by concentrating your effort.

So if you represent more than one company, choose one for that particular group and really brand yourself as belonging to that company.

If your company’s offerings are expansive (like mine) choose one product-line or service to represent for that group or at least for that meeting.

The more specific you can be in asking for what you want, the more likely your audience is going to be able to find it for you.

For example, if you are a hairdresser and you stand up and say, “I do hair, I sell jewelry, I do nails, I sell a weightloss product, and my husband is a plumber”  your audience will just tune out because it’s simply it’s too much information.

Instead, choose one effort, at least for that group or that meeting and really concentrate on it and get specific.  In the same example, you could say, “I’m a hairdresser and I’m looking for middle-aged women that need an updated corporate look to enhance their career and make them look younger.”  With an introduction like that, you’ve now created a mental picture for your audience that they can relate to “enough” so that they can help you.

To continue the same example, don’t worry that the weight-loss, jewelry, or plumbing businesses will suffer because they won’t.  As you build relationships and get to know people, they’ll ask you what your spouse does.  They might come into your salon and see the pretty jewelry on display and buy some, and as you are doing their hair they might complain about their weight and you can share your experience with  that weight-loss product.

I never want to see anyone give up something that they love and believe in, but choose what you principally want to be known for, at least for that group or meeting.  I know it’s counterintuitive but what you’ll come to realize is that all of your businesses will benefit from a focused and consistent effort.

I have a lot going on.

I own a marketing firm and we do A LOT, to say the least…promotional items, printing, design work, marketing consulting, websites, videos, internet marketing, social media, I mean the list goes on and on.  In addition to that, my husband is a contractor, he does primarily kitchen and bath remodels, but he does a lot more too…and we have rental property.  Is that enough for you yet?  Look, I see no reason for anyone to limit their opportunities, do what you want, own as many businesses as you want, build a team for each business and succeed beyond your wildest dreams.  But no one can relate to the full repertoire in 30 seconds.

So how do you choose what to represent?  Well, think of your audience first.   Choose that which most peoople in that group will relate to.  So even if you only have one job or business, get very specific based on the group’s demographic.

Remember, the networking event is NOT your one and only time to connect with these people.  Instead, it’s just the beginning and you can always connect with people later to learn more about them as well as share more about you.

Stay tuned for Tip #9  Be Likeable and Relateable

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