Tuesday September 22, 2015
Does networking often feel intimidating, frustrating, or unproductive, when it should feel empowering and exciting? If so, you’re probably stuck in a cycle of fear and denial that is holding you back from getting the results you need to grow your business.
My newest seminar, 30 Seconds of Brave, is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs break through the barriers holding them back from making connections. We do this by replacing fear with its opposites: love, trust, and the desire to make meaningful, lasting connections with others.
Just a little dose of courage draws people to you and piques their interest. Here’s how to make yourself more attractive to prospects by stretching your boundaries every day!
Wipe That Anxiety Off Your Face
People are much better at reading emotions on our faces and body than we realize. When we feel intimidated, frustrated, or insecure, people know something is wrong.
At a networking event, anxiety is a very common emotion. The problem is, anxiety, boredom, and aggression look pretty similar to people who don’t know us well: crossed arms, tense shoulders, pursed lips, etc. All of these signals say, “Stay away, I don’t want to talk right now.”
Not exactly the message you want to put out when you’re face-to-face marketing.
Unless you have a lot of control over your body language, your nerves show on your face whether you want them to or not, and could be limiting the number of connections you make.
As you build up your courage, try to keep your posture and expression open, inviting others to come engage with you. The more confident you get (and appear!), the more you’ll be approached.
Craft an Unforgettable Introduction
You don’t get a lot of time to introduce yourself at most networking events, so it’s crucial to make every second count. Most people will decide whether or not they’re interested in connecting after just your initial pitch!
Nerves and fear shift our brain’s computing power away from the memory and speech centers, so we might stumble over words or forget part of what we wanted to say. Mistakes, or an unclear pitch, signal audiences that there’s a lack of professionalism, which makes you a less attractive connection.
I maintain that the best way to feel comfortable with your introduction is to prepare beforehand and then practice a lot! At my 30 Seconds of Brave seminar, I can help you create your 30 second introduction.
You’ll suddenly find that people want to know more about you and your business because they sense your confidence in your introduction and therefore in you!
Learn the Secret to Getting On-Target Referrals
Referrals are a major aspect of face-to-face networking. Getting more confident will help you feel better about introducing your contacts to each other, but it will also increase the number of referrals that get sent your way.
Last time, I shared how important it is to narrow your niche so you get more, higher-quality referrals from people you meet face-to-face marketing. Narrowing your niche takes a lot of courage — it can feel like you’re shrinking your own pool of prospects.
But having a narrow niche really helps those who want to refer new business your way. As I said last time, a niche that’s too broad applies to everyone they know. Since they can’t refer everyone, they refer no one.
In addition, making a referral has a certain risk. If they send someone your way and you don’t impress, it reflects poorly on them. You’ll be much more attractive to refer-ers and their network of potential prospects if you know exactly who you’re looking for.
Earn What You’re Worth
If you become more confident in your face-to-face marketing, you’ll notice something interesting start to happen. Gradually, you’ll find that people expect (and are willing!) to pay you more.
People naturally “price” us as they learn about us and our business. Even if your product or service has nothing to do with your personal charisma, when you’re face-to-face marketing, to some extent, you are the product.
Confidence shows that you’re a serious business owner and conveys professionalism. It primes your prospects to pay you what you’re worth, rather than fighting you on price.
Being attractive to your prospects in this way helps you make more money, but it also saves you a lot of time haggling and arguing over what your services are worth. Of course, there will always be people who don’t value your product or service. Don’t worry — confident business owners find plenty of people who do see the value.
Work Less, Earn More
The fact is, confident business owners are able to work less and earn more, simply because they’re so much more attractive to prospects. When you walk into a networking event, let your courage lead the way.
Rather than chasing down desirable connections, they’ll find you. Rather than feeling frustrated trying to break into the interesting group discussions, they’ll form around you. Rather than playing phone tag with unqualified prospects, your phone will start ringing.
I can’t overstate how much time and energy you save when you present yourself as a confident, self-assured, professional business owner.
It’s one of those positive feedback loops that keeps building on itself. The more confident you feel, the more prospects you attract, and the more you convert. The more successful you are engaging with prospects, the more confident you’ll feel at face-to-face marketing.
Unfortunately, the reverse cycle is just as powerful. Fear repels prospects, and depresses your conversion rate. As a result, you feel frustrated at networking events, and it shows more and more in your body language and expression.
It’s up to you to choose which cycle to feed: the cycle of fear, or the cycle of genuine trust and connection. I can say from my own experience, and from coaching business owners for many years, the cycle of courage is the one that grows your business.
What aspects of face-to-face networking make you nervous, and why? Let me know in the comments!