3 Networking tips that lead to connecting with the right clients
If you’re like me, you hate networking. Typically, you are in a crowded room with professionals from your industry who are all scoping out the same people to exchange business cards with. After you recite your elevator pitch, for what seems like the 1000th time, you’re exhausted and you’re right where you started when you got there – no new clients.
Follow these tips for networking if you hate networking the traditional way:
- Learn how to play golf – What did you expect me to say? My opinion may be a bit biased, but it works. There’s no way you stand out in a sea of thirsty professionals. That won’t be the case on the golf course. There are very few women on the golf course, let alone women of color. Find a reputable instructor in your area (we can help you with that) and learn the fundamentals of the game. Stick with it, golf is hard and you really do need at least a few months of lessons to build your skill and confidence.
- Learn the etiquette – The last thing you want to do is get out on the course and not know what to do – where to stand, where to park the cart, when to talk, when not to talk. Learning and understanding the etiquette of the game is very important. People will understand your lack of skill, but they won’t excuse your ignorance when it comes to the etiquette.
- Invite your potential clients for a round of golf – This is so much better than any elevator pitch at a networking event. Both of you probably have a smart phone and can schedule a something on the spot. Now, you can move on and work the rest of the room. The time you’ll spend on the golf course with a potential client will be far more valuable than the 10 seconds you have to recite your elevator pitch. It will be up to you to schedule the tee time at the course of your choice and follow up with to confirm and send the address and directions to the course. Arrive early, pay for the round for both of you and grab a few bottles of water too.
Ask your employer if you can be reimbursed for golf lessons and your rounds with potential clients. It’s likely your golf lessons are a business development, continuing education, or a sales expense.