Hope Wissel

Friends and Networking

Over the weekend I did two different vendor events which were a great opportunity to see friends and build my network.  My views on vendor events have changed dramatically over the last several months – of course, we all want to make money but beyond that I am building relationships that are leading into some amazing friendships.

For those that know me or have met me at events, I LOVE to share tips with people – not just about my products but with other vendors about things that I have learned.  I was paid the ultimate compliment on Sunday by a relatively new vendor Heather Kirkpatrick that had Diaper Cakes By Heather – she was sharing with anyone that would listen how the ideas and tips that she got from me has helped her to look more professional as well as work her business like a business.  WOW!  I was amazed but since the first time I met her, we connected and she grown so much – I am thrilled for her.  Another friend Lisa Yanoschak  who I met by networking asked for me help and if she could pick my brain!  I have been humbled by the compliments of both of these people.  

I credit a lot of people for my personal growth (the list is getting longer each day) but here are some great tips from Direct Sales Education Foundation:

  1. Don’t just attend events, be an active participant.  I attend as many events as possible. I practice Dana Wilde‘s 10-second rule and am learning to be more confident.  
  2. Hold off on the sales pitch.  I love this!  The 30-second commercial is really not who I am.  I love sharing what I do but as someone told me – I am so much more than just bags.  As a result I have been building relationships.
  3. Ask good questions.  This goes back to Dana Wilde‘s 10-second rule.  I ask questions AND then listen. If I find myself talking too long, I quickly ask the other person a question so I don’t monopolize the conversation. 
  4. Follow up.  Okay, so this is a tough one for me, especially when it comes to the phone.  I am much better at emailing people that I have met and offering the opportunity to discuss my business further with them.
  5. Incorporate your online presence with your offline presence.  Make sure you share information with people that will allow them to find you online.  I have my email address and website on my business card but I don’t have my Facebook page or my blog listed.  Time to update those business cards.
  6. Ask friends to make introductions.  Don’t be afraid to ask your friends to introduce you to other people.  I like the idea of setting a goal of how many NEW people I want to meet.  I am going to try this at the next event.
  7. Do something NEW!  We all get those general invites to an event or function.  Someone is having an open house or a gathering – why not go!  Step out of your comfort zone.  Attend a vendor event as a guest and make it your business to talk to the vendors that are there about the show and their products.  Begin to build new relationships.
Hopefully, some of these things will help you… they have changed the way that I look at vendor events, network meetings and conferences.  I have begun to build my confidence (yes, it is a little shakey) and make some amazing new friends.

How do you build your network?  Please share some of your ideas with us.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

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