Network Your Way to Success
7 Steps to Take Your Conversations to Conversions
Are you tired of having ‘light-hearted’ conversations at networking events that lead no where? Are you wasting time meeting prospective clients but failing to convert them into paying clients?
In today’s connected world, networking has become a necessity. When done well, business networking will make a massive difference to your success often leading to new professional opportunities that you might otherwise have missed. Unfortunately, many people struggle to shift a conversation from a light-hearted, get-to-know you chat to a conversation that captivates and converts any prospect into a paying customer.
Late last year I was invited to a friend’s party. I knew I wouldn’t know anyone at the party so I was excited to meet some new people. At the party I met a lady named ‘Jane’ and we got talking. Being a lover of people and curious about where they’ve come from, I started asking Jane about herself and what she does for work. She shared that she’s a naturopath specialising in helping women transition through menopause naturally. I was immediately impressed with her niche as it was personally relevant and a nicely defined area. As I was curious, I proceeded to ask Jane more questions about her business and how she helps her clients. During this conversation, it dawned on me what was going on with Jane and how she was holding herself back from having the success she wanted in her business. I asked if I could offer an insight that might help her in her business to which she was happy to receive it. This conversation led to Jane and I working together for almost six months now.
It can and truly is that easy to be anywhere and find prospective clients and convert them into paying customers. If you would like to build more powerful connections with your prospects whether it’s a formal networking event or a barbeque, here are seven steps I use to shift everyday conversations into ones that convert prospects into paying customers.
7 Steps to Shift Conversations to Conversions
1 What’s Your Sign Say?
Imagine for a moment that you are wearing an a-frame sign with a front and back every moment of the day. And this a-frame sign is continually communicating to people around us who we are, what we believe and what we have to offer (or don’t have the confidence to offer). The truth is, we cannot help but communicate these things in the way we carry ourselves, how we dress and the words we use. We are constantly communicating, like the light on a lighthouse.
So, my question to you is… what results is your sign giving you? Are you attracting vibrant, amazing people to youor away fromyou?
You see, our outer world is always a reflection of what’s going on in our inner world. And in business, our business is an even greater amplification of this. So, if you’re struggling to attract clients perhaps something needs to shift within you.
2 Authentic Communication
Many of the women I coach do not like networking. In fact, they hate it with a passion. Does this sound like you? The notion of networking raises a pile of icky emotions for many as they equate such events with sleazy sales, superficial conversations and awkward moments.
The truth of it is that for many, attending a networking event is far beyond their comfort zone and smack dab in a place that feels inauthentic.
Did you know that the words we say make up just 7% of our communication? Yes, just 7%! The remaining 93% is made up of our voice tonality and body language. We can say the most eloquent string of words but if our body language and voice tonality don’t match, we can feel misaligned.
And this is exactly what I picked up from Jane as we spoke about her business. She was saying lots of beautifully articulated words but her monotone voice and slumped posture were giving me the full story about what Jane believed about herself and what she had to offer.
In brief, in order to be perceived as confident and congruent in our communications, our words, voice tonality and body physiology must match. Our sub-conscious minds are super amazing at detecting inconsistencies in others which then leads us to doubt and refuse to trust which are deal-breakers when it comes to choosing to work with someone.
3 Be Interested or Interesting
Have you ever met someone and all they did is talk about themselves? And you even when you tried to offer a comment they continued to talk over you like they weren’t interested? I recently met a woman who was the CEO of a NFP and she continued to give me a diatribe about her and her role, until I politely excused myself from her company. How does it feel to be ignored?
Many people dislike networking events because they’re focused on themselves and their feelings of nervousness or inauthenticity. So, if you don’t think you’re interesting, then shift your focus on to those around you and be interested. Get curious, ask quality questions and get them talking. This is one rule of thumb that has never let me know. People are the expert of their own lives and typically, are quite happy to share about themselves.
4 Service Over Sales
I have found for many women that a conversation around how they can be of service or support to someone is a much more comfortable one than a pushy ‘salesy’ conversation that feels forced and inauthentic.
I was working with a financial adviser recently, who struggled at networking events to articulate her service offering in a way that felt comfortable and compelling. When we shifted the conversation from one attached to dollars and pushy sales to one that focussed on how she was helping to educate and empower women to build financial security she was much more comfortable and connected to her message. When we connect around ‘purpose’ and wanting to be of genuine support to others, not only do we feel more authentic and aligned, our prospects are more inspired to want to connect with us too.
What is it that you most help your clients to do? How do you support them? Once you are clear on this, your conversations will flow more easily.
5 Crystalise Your Value
If you don’t know your value, how can others ever know? It is business critical to take the time to get clear on the value you bring. The greater your belief in the value you bring to others, the greater your level of income.
Your clients don’t set your value, YOU do!
Know your niche, know your worth, crystalise your value both for yourself and for your prospects and be prepared to ask for it. You are worth it. And yes, it is that simple.
6 Functional or Purposeful?
The other day I was shopping in a women’s clothing store. There were two ladies working in the shop and neither looked particularly interested in helping us. As I had a particular request, I needed to engage with the staff and was quick to notice that they were quite functional in their role, just going through the motions, completing my transaction in a way that was robotic and emotionally detached.
Have you ever experienced this type of service? Or worse, is this how you feel in your work?
A ‘functional’ experience is soul-destroying as it lacks passion and purpose. After we had left this shop, we decided to go to a café for some lunch and to our surprise, we were met with quite an opposing experience. The service was friendly and efficient, the staff were happy and focussed on their customers. And the owner came and asked how our meals were and if we were having a good day. Now that is great service!
Being beige in business is a killer. Bring colour and richness to your work. Connect with your passion and align with your strengths. Your unique gift to the world is where your passion and strengths overlap. If you’re not in your sweet spot with your work, do yourself a favour and work towards getting there – this is your most important work and the easiest way to feel authentic and your fastest way to career success.
7 Powerful Pitch
When you share what you do for work, are you met with enthusiasm or do they say, oh that’s ‘interesting’ and walk away?
A powerful pitch is one that evokes an emotionally charged response. Your aim is to gain genuine engagement.
So, when someone asks, “what do you do” – your answer should evoke a response such as they’ve taken out their diary to book a time with you or put you in touch with someone they know that will help you in your quest.
At the heart of your pitch is your mission or your ‘why’. For an inspiring look at how to get to ‘why’ in your business, watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk on Start With Why (ted.com)
When you know what you’re up to in the world, you become a magnet of opportunity. People see your vision and want to help support it.
It has been a rewarding experience working with Jane. She has transitioned from a meek, mild woman who underestimated her worth to a glowing, prosperous entrepreneur who’s thriving in service to women around the country.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Cindy Turner, Master Coach and Founder of evolvingwomen.co.Evolving Women is a purpose-driven business focused on advancing the success of women. Cindy works with entrepreneurs and professionals who seek greater success for themselves.