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Networking: Love It or Hate It End a Conversation & Make It Memorable

• POSTED ON: May 4, 2019

So, you opened a business. You may have gotten into your business because you saw a need in your community and you knew you could fill it. Or perhaps you found your passion and took the leap. You may be incredibly skilled at what you do and have a great team behind you even. But…you struggle working ON your business. One of those struggles often centers around Networking. For some, networking comes easy and it can be a fun time to talk about your passion.  For others, it ends up being something you dread. So today we are going to discuss one of the key networking skills—ending a conversation and making yourself memorable.

ENDING A CONVERSATION: DO THIS NOT THAT

DODON’T
“It was nice to meet you. Do you have a card so I can reach out at a later date? Thank you.”This lets them know that you enjoyed your conversation. It is simple, honest, and no fuss. Don’t overthink it. (Also develop a system and be sure to actually reach out!)
If you meet someone at a networking event, of course you are there to do just that. Network! No one expects you to spend your entire time with them or getting to know their business. Say it was nice to meet you and move on.“I’m sorry but I need to go make the rounds and network”
You may see someone else you want to talk with, but this often translates into…I see someone more important. Again, not the impression you want to leave. Everyone knows you are there to network, say it was nice to meet them and move on. No big deal.“I see someone else I need to catch.”
“What you said about _____ is interesting. I am going to give that some thought and see how it syncs with my clientele.”Recap. Recap. Recap. People like to know that you were listening and invested in your conversation. Even if it only lasted a couple minutes. This tells them that you were present, intrigued, and valued their time.
“When you said _____, I knew you needed to meet Lindsay. I think you two would work well together. Do you mind if I connect you both?”Always be looking for ways to add more value. You may not be able to help the person grow their business personally, but maybe you know someone who could. If they are both at the same event, connect them then. If not, be sure to follow up with a joint email to make the connection.
Don’t limit yourself. Yes, you want to be honest, but you also have to consider whether the CPA you already work with is the right fit for ALL of your clientele. It never hurts to get to know other area professionals. They may wish to utilize your services, and you may find yourself in need of new CPA in the future. Further, it helps confirm that you are in fact working with someone who aligns with your values and culture.“I am already in a networking group and am connected with a CPA.”
Are you really going to the restroom? If you are, then this is simple & straightforward. BUT, it sounds like you are making an excuse to exit the conversation. Especially if the person sees you start another conversation and fail to go directly to the restroom. Not to mention they start to wonder if you are coming back to finish the conversation. Always wrap up before exiting & don’t fib.“It was nice to meet you, I need to run to the restroom.”
“Would you be interested in grabbing a coffee next week so I can learn more about what you do and see if it is a good fit for my clients?” --- “Great. I will send you an email with some times. I look forward to visiting again soon. Thanks.”This tells them that you are interested in learning more about their business and growing their business. It also gives you another opportunity to connect. If you think there may be an opportunity setting up another time to connect is key to maximize that connection. Plus, it allows you to continue making more connections throughout the evening and not “getting stuck” in one conversation. Even if it is a great conversation. Don’t forget to set a date or develop a system to follow-up.

At the end of the day, be honest and sincere when making connections. People can usually tell when someone is not being genuine. Don’t fib. Be authentic. Most importantly, do what you say you are going to do. If you said you were going to follow-up with them—THEN FOLLOW-UP WITH THEM! If you don’t deliver, then how will they know you will when it comes to a client or getting their business.

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