I wanted to share something with you guys that I thought might be good blog fodder. It’s a perfect complement to your blog post about “Why Your Networking Sucks.”
Here’s the story…
On a Facebook group for local wedding professionals, someone posted, “If anyone needs a [type of wedding pro], contact me” and a website link.
I sort of smiled and cringed at the same time, because until recently, that was my MO, and I realized how weak and ineffective it looked.
Why did I ever do that?
Well, I knew I had to do SOMETHING, and I didn’t know what else to do. PLUS, that’s what other wedding professionals suggested that I do.
Anyway, now that I’m older and wiser, I dropped her an email and said, “Hey there! I saw your post and wanted to introduce myself. Maybe we can work together somehow. What are some of your biggest challenges? Maybe I can help you out. BTW, I’m going to a mixer later this month, you should come join us.”
Her response was very striking to me.
“I don’t really have any challenges,” she wrote. “But if someone asks for a pianist, I’ll refer you. I probably won’t go to the mixer. I’ve tried those before and don’t get anything out of it. People promise to refer me, but then never do.”
Networking Mistakes That Blow It
What were my thoughts? Where to even begin!
- Someone in your profession just offered to chat and help you, and you had nothing to say?
- Reading that you would refer left me feeling annoyed, not grateful. Probably because there wasn’t much more to our interaction.
- People you just met “promised” to refer you, and you’re mad that they didn’t? They just met you!
You didn’t get anything out of it? Well, what are you GIVING or putting into it?
There’s NOTHING you could “get out of” a mixer other than getting referrals? How about meeting interesting people? How about learning about other people’s businesses, challenges, and successes? Shoot, how about having FUN?
Anyway … the point of this is that it really struck me how some wedding vendors really shoot themselves in the foot, and I used to be more like that until I discovered you guys at Book More Brides. (Although I was never THAT bad!)
If you want to get referrals, you have to approach people with a “What can I do for you?” attitude, rather than a “Let me tell you about me so you can refer me” approach.
That’s the key to successful networking relationships.
What do you think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Blaske is an Atlanta pianist who enjoys helping out other wedding professionals she meets by telling them about Book More Brides. Her most recent advertising strategy is her slideshow of Atlanta wedding music, which was created by her twelve year-old daughter Rachael at no charge.