A while back, I read “How to Sell Anything to Anybody” by Joe Girard and one concept that stuck in my head was his point about throwing spaghetti at a wall. Joe says “if you throw enough spaghetti against a wall, some of it will stick.” He used this point to describe his philosophy on cold calling — if you call enough people, someone will eventually listen to you. The concept can be used in other areas of business such as sales, pitching ideas and even looking for a job — if you contact enough people, you’ll eventually find someone who is interested in what you have to offer. But wait, there’s more…
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t do a lot of preparation work prior to a networking event. Most people just pick an outfit and grab a stack of business cards, and they are off. For some, this works out adequately for them — they know how to talk to people. But for many, while they have a good time at the event, they don’t see any direct benefits from them.
I was recently cleaning out some old emails and found a couple of emails from a vendor that got me thinking. Before we get to the actual email, let me tell you the situation. A few years ago, I had downloaded a trial version of a piece of software. Many companies require you to provide some information prior to allowing you to download, so I had provided whatever info they had requested. It’s not uncommon for companies to have someone in their sales group follow up. In this particular case, this vendor was in the same city as me (I’ll refrain from sharing the name of the company or sales person) so a salesman emailed me requesting a meeting.
Here is the email I recieved, with the subject being “[his company name] visit – [my company name]:”
I have a confession to make: I’ve spent the majority of my life being shy. When I was a kid having to meet new people — adults especially, but even kids — was a challenge for me. I grew out of it in high school and college but then when it was time for me to hit the workforce, it came back.
It’s unfortunate that this year’s group of college graduates are facing one of the most challenging job markets since the great depression. I’ve had a number of college seniors contact me in recent weeks for career advice regarding this unique situation. Here is the advice I’ve passed on to them.
Enjoy the time you have left:
If you’ve ever been to a business networking event, you’ve probably been told that starting a conversation is the hardest part. This tends to be true for neophyte networkers – walking up to someone new and introducing yourself can be quite challenging. However, when you become an experienced networker, you may sometimes find that exiting a conversation is much more difficult than starting one.
You’re probably wondering if I’ve gone crazy with this one. Yes, I still blog about networking and still teach a class about it. But I wanted to share something that came up in a conversation after a breakout session I did on, you guessed it, networking. One of the attendees asked me if networking was for everyone. My answer was that everyone can benefit from good networking but sometimes networking opportunities (as well as networking events) can be a waste of time, and in some cases, counterproductive.