The Art of Networking: How to Turn Your Networking Conversations into Conversions

You’ve done your elevator pitch and you feel pretty good about it. So, relax, the pressure is off now. Or is it?

In this article, expert speaker and presentation coach Sally Morgan gives advice on how to deepen the conversation after you have made the initial connection at a networking event.

What do you say when someone comes up to you and asks, “I’d love to learn more about what you do”? Now what? You do so many things, solve so many problems for people, have so many skills, what do you say to this person?

The conversation that follows can be the beginning of a conversation that converts. It’s an opportunity to strut your stuff with someone who is interested.

You have a hot prospect who wants more information right now. How do you take full advantage of this opportunity? Truthfully, this is a networking moment when most people fall flat.

What do you say at that moment?

  • Do you give a laundry list of your services?
  • Do you explain the technical aspect of what you do?
  • Do you just keep talking until the other person says, “Ok thanks,” and walks away?
  • Do you ask for their business card so you can follow up with an email and a link to your website?

Not so much. This one-on-one in-person conversation is the optimal way to make a lasting connection with another person. Connection leads to conversion. You must not waste this moment to mumbles, wandering thoughts or a follow up email!

You might have thoughts swirling through your head…

  • I don’t want to bore him with my explanation
  • Too nervous to talk – I’m better at writing
  • He’ll find out I’m a fraud, not really that good, not articulate in person
  • Please don’t make me put myself out there any more

Turn off the flood of negative thoughts by being prepared with success stories that illustrate what you do for others. My recommendation to my clients is to have a minimum of 3 client success stories prepared, polished and ready to present at any time.

So, how do you prepare a powerful success story?

A good story…

  • Has a beginning, middle and end
  • Follows a logical through thought
  • Must be clear and succinct
  • Is clear even to those who know nothing about your area of expertise
  • Contains no garbage words – like, um, you know, etc.
  • Can be told in about 1 minute
  • Illustrates that you are an expert in your field
  • Is relatable to your audience

That’s a lot to ask! This is why your stories must be well thought out, well crafted and practiced out loud long before the networking event.

Begin crafting a client success story with these questions…

  • What is the biggest and best win you can hope for your client?
  • Which of your clients have experienced the most success, made biggest transformation, enjoy more health, experience more love in their life, etc.?
  • What was your client hoping to get out of working with you?
  • How were you able to help?
  • Did you exceed expectations?
  • Was there a surprise outcome?
  • What success is your client now experiencing?

Here is an example of one of my client success stories.

“A physician who developed a vaccine came to me for help when she lost her voice from the stress of preparing to present her vaccine to the FDA – a weeklong process. Dr. Green, we will call her, spent 6 years developing a vaccine that could potentially save the lives of millions of children. She was sure the FDA would hear nothing but statics and efficacy trials – numbers – and not the humanity behind why she was compelled to develop the vaccine.

I asked Dr. Green to tell me the exact moment when she knew she had to stop all these children from dying.

Dr. Green witnessed a mother with her dying infant in her arms bend down to a mud puddle, soak a filthy rag with the water and squeeze it into her baby’s mouth. The baby died 30 minutes later.

We constructed this true, compelling story of that moment. She began her presentation to the FDA with the story. She hooked the FDA panel in the heart. Then presented the numbers to support her work. The vaccine was approved and is now saving the lives of children all over the world.”

This story takes about 1 minute to tell. It’s full of pathos and is relatable to anyone who has or knows or loves children. It has human appeal. It’s also relatable to people whose career depends on presentations when the stakes are very high.

My client success story…

  • Has a beginning that tells why the client sought my help
  • Followed by the enormous challenge she was faced with
  • A middle explaining how I was able to help her
  • Includes the story we crafted to illustrate how it’s done
  • Concludes with the client’s success and how the vaccine is saving children worldwide

I left out a lot of what I did to help her: restored her speaking voice back to health, the transformation of her body language, how much time it took, the crafting of other stories for her to tell when she felt the FDA panel’s attention lagging and much more. These points are not necessary to a clear, succinct story. They can be included in a longer story for another occasion.

What are your client success stories that you can share at your next networking event? Follow the guidelines in this article and you will turn your conversations into conversions.

Sally Morgan, voice trainer, coaches executives to achieve unshakeable confidence, expert status and establish credibility through powerful communication skills. She bridges the chasm between how most folks are raised to communicate and how a businessperson needs to present for success. Learn more at http://powerfulvoiceofsuccess.com/