It would be fair to say, that the recent horse meat scandal has been a shock to everyone’s system!
When you think about it, we have all been well and truly hoodwinked by global meat suppliers – all those burgers that you ate at your friends or relatives last BBQ…that lovely lasagna that you lovingly devoured with a nice glass of rioja…that crispy pancake that you slapped between two pieces of bread and licked your lips over…
It is sickening to know that a relative of Shergar lay on your plate, disguised as a piece of succulent, tender piece entered your body, satisfied you at the time, and you were not given the chance to choose!
So, what tas the horsemeat scandal got to do with business networking events?
Allow me to explain – picture the scene:
You are standing outside the networking venue, breathing heavily with nervousness and dread. You walk in, desperately looking around for someone who you know and hoping that someone knows you. You start fumbling for your mobile, to pretend that someone has sent you a lengthy email that you must read right now….then it happens..
Billy Bulls**t spots you and heads for your direction, business card already in their hand and a grin that says “Yes, lead, lead lead…”
For the next 20 minutes, you are stuck listening to the worlds longest sales pitch that has no relevance, whatsoever, to you or your business.
Then they say something that gets your attention,
“So, how can i help you in your business?”…you then begin to think of ways to try and justify why you have just wasted 20 mins of your life, feeling spittle on your face and smelling their breath..
So what do you do? How do you make sense of this encounter? How do you decipher a way to gain value from this situation?
Here are 4 tips that i would like to share:
1) Be succinct in your reply: Explain, simply, what you need for your business – is it a lead for a particular type of customer, access to some specific information, advice and guidance from someone more experienced etc?
2) Ask them what they can do to help you with your specific need: Get them to think about and clarify what they can do, rather than giving them the permission to assume what they have is what you need or want.
3) Ask them for an example of how they have helped others, in your situation: If they can truly help you, let them evidence how they can help you.
4) Ask them what you can do for them: Networking is about adding value, not taking it. Find out what they need.
You see the advantage of meeting Billy Bulls**t, is that you can utilise the fact that they go around and talk to so many people, as they can! This means, that they may actually have enough contacts or people in their own network who may be able to help you!
Granted, they may not have time for those who cannot help them but if you find out how you can add value to them, they themselves will make an effort to support you – their own ego of your telling others, that they have helped you and them being seen as the ‘big connector’, may be a big enough driver for them to help you.
People are people, but never discount the fact that everyone knows someone. You just never know.
So, next time you see manure coming your way, remember that the best roses often grow in s**t!!
Till the next time,