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The Networker #32: A Salespersons Biggest Networking Hurdle: Their Manager

30 Aug, 2023
Read time: 4 minutes & 48 seconds

2 years ago in September 2021 I said goodbye to the toughest period of my life professionally.

Returning to live events having run a networking organisation through the pandemic.

The business was built on bringing people together face to face at sporting venues.

And the doors to the venues shut, and we weren’t legally allowed to do events.

So yeah, the next 12-18 months were the toughest I’ve faced.

It was pushing water uphill with a rake.

Pure survival mode.

If you want the full story, that’s best saved for a coffee or stiff drink 😅

But there’s one thing I miss about that period.

The way people networked.

Albeit event sonly being virtual at that time, you couldn’t get away with the stock response of saying how busy you are.

Others knew it was bullsh*t (plus the fact it was completely tone deaf).

No one was without a challenge during that time, be it professionally or personally.

And the shared experience led to an openness and willingness to share.

To be vulnerable, let others in to help, and actually asking for it.

Leading to deeper relationships and connection formed.

Rather than putting up an ego shield not letting people through.

The truth is, it’s the same in ‘normal’ times too.

I’m yet to meet anyone without challenges or ways others can help.

(If you don’t – what’s your secret?)

In this edition, I explore responses to turn to instead that let others in.

Improving your chances of turning conversations into true connection.

It’s inevitable at a networking event, you’ll get asked:

“How’s business?”

It’s a standard opening question.

They clearly haven’t read my 6 go-to networking questions.

Or understand that for better conversations at networking events, you need to ask better questions.

(Send these people to The Networker if so).

But at this point, you have the chance to avoid a standard response, and offer one that’ll open up the conversation.

By telling others how busy you are, what they’re hearing is:

“I don’t need any help.”

“I don’t need the business.”

“I’m all good.”

It offers no value or any insight to allow others to help, or even progress the conversation.

What they’d rather hear:

A bit of humility, honesty, and ‘real talk’.

Something like:

    • “I am busy – but working through a couple of challenges working on X.”
    • “Genuinely am quite busy – but am looking for support or help with X.”
    • “Could be busier – business has slowed down in this area.”
    • “Pretty quiet at the moment – have capacity to take on new clients in the X industry.”
    • “It’s ok – we’re looking to grow with this service/product in the business.”

Immediately, it opens up the conversation.

They can start to consider ways to offer any help, insights, or connections that could be useful.

Rather than trying to paint a picture of positivity for the sake of the conversation.

When someone asks how you’re doing, share a challenge.

Or at least an honest assessment.

It could be a supplier issue. Or sales are slow. Or an issue with a staff member.

You never know, they may even have the same problem as you, or experience navigating it themselves.

And if you are super busy (top marks for networking at a time when many think they don’t need to) – be specific and share what you’re busy working on.

They may know ways to help you seek out more of that!

The Wrap Up

So, next time you catch yourself about to tell someone how incredibly busy you are.

Think, will they be able to help you with that information? Will it be valuable to them?

Because by offering an authentic and more real response, you’re helping them, help you.

That’s where true connection starts.

P.S. if you come up against someone that responds with how busy they are – help them out with this three word follow up question​.

What Is The Networker?

The weekly newsletter to help business owners and sales leaders network smarter.

1 networking tip, trend or tidbit – every Wednesday morning.

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