The Company You Keep

One of the major challenges in building your business is finding the right people with whom to interact.  You want to be positioned to meet and get to know the decision-makers.  You want to meet the people who can decide to do business with you, buy your product or service, and open doors to additional quality business contacts.

Finding the right events, meetings, and “circles” isn’t an easy task.  Groups are constantly evolving.  Network meetings which were once comprised of the decision-makers become known as the places to meet these people.  As a result, the decision-makers get overwhelmed by hard sell tactics, masses of people trying to do business, and people wanting assistance of one form or another.  What happens?  The decision-makers move on to another place where they can meet to build their businesses or simply network without experiencing a veritable feeding frenzy in which they are the food!

Another interesting phenomenon of finding the right people to do business with is that the ones who are easiest to find may not be the best ones to be involved with.  You may find an occasional gem of a client, alliance, or vendor at any meeting.  What is difficult is sifting through the masses to find those two or three people who are quality contacts.

Okay, let me make this point: I’m not saying the people you meet are “lesser” people, just that they may not be the right people for what you are trying to accomplish.  These aren’t judgments to be made on appearance, economic background, or other “surface” characteristics.  Instead these are calls based on who you need to reach.  The higher the price, service, market, or other feature of what you are selling (or buying) the less likely that a general networking event is going to have a statistically significant number of qualified prospects (those who need your “product,” can afford to pay a price that generates a profit, AND can make the decision to buy) for you to reach.

So what do you do?  It takes time to develop a networking strategy which can maximize your exposure to qualified prospects.  It takes understanding just who your qualified prospects are and what they are looking for.  It takes being prepared to meet them on a business social basis and strike a balance between conveying your message and going into sales mode.

Once you do make contact at events and are asked to call the person, make the call!  You may not think they mean it, but you won’t know until you pick up the phone and follow-up.

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