How to get business leads at non-networking events

festive food can produce business leads

Business Leads – If you want to consistently attract clients, grow your business, and maximize your wealth and impact on the world, you can’t restrict your networking efforts to networking events.  And even though we talk about getting qualified referrals from our referral partners getting business leads is key for every business.

At the same time, you don’t want to be the person who’s always pushing your product at other people, even when the event isn’t supposed to be about you and your business, but this does not stop you from turning in your interactions with people as a way of qualifying them as potential business leads.

In today’s blog post, I’m going to explore how you can network and form valuable connections at ANY event, without seeming pushy, obnoxious, salesy or self-centered.  I am also going to show you how to create a list of new business leads as you do so.

Here’s the most basic rule of networking at non-networking events:

The most important rule of non-networking networking is: you can network anywhere, as long as you honor the event. Don’t show up at a funeral and start handing out business cards.

This is not the time to try to sell something. It’s the time to offer help, free of charge. The key is to find a way to help people or

business leads can come from service projects

Service projects can produce business leads

make a connection with them, while NOT asking for money.

Making connections is something you can do anywhere – at a bar mitzvah, a christening, a wedding, a Christmas party, or even a funeral. You just have to do it with the right mindset: the mindset of “givers gain”.

Remember: when you’re networking, it isn’t about your agenda or personal profit. It’s about finding out if the other person needs your help, and offering to help them.

You aren’t doing a sales job, you’re trying to deepen the relationship, learn more about the person’s needs, and see if you can meet those needs. When you do this, you are qualifying them as being part of your overall group of business leads in your database or contact list.

For example, when our founder, Ivan Misner, was in management, he would get to know a bit about people’s businesses, then recommend articles on topics that were relevant to them.  How easy would that be today?  Ivan did this back in the 80’s when articles were harder to find.  Today, people suffer from information overload.  How easy would it be to send a few curated blogs on your part and see if the new contact is, in fact, one of your qualified business leads in your contacts?

This is a way to start establishing yourself as a source of answers, without any ill-timed selling.

Non-networking events are a great time to connect with powerful people

During the holidays, you probably went to a few parties. Casual, fun events like that are an excellent opportunity to “network up”, which is to say, to meet and build a relationship with highly successful people who normally might not have time for you.

Networking with people who are in a more powerful position than you are can open a lot of doors, and it’s important to do it right. Don’t be like all the people who immediately start trying to sell to them, get them to promote their product, or otherwise focus on capitalizing on their new acquaintance’s success.

Instead, get to know more about what they do, and find an opportunity to help them or make a good connection with them. That’s probably the only chance you have of seeing that person again on a regular basis.

If you don’t do that, and you’re like everybody else who’s just trying to sell to them, they won’t be interested.

In fact, you may not even want to mention what you do until you’ve built up some rapport, the person you’re talking to asks, or it otherwise becomes a big part of the conversation for whatever reason.

Chances are, if somebody’s already successful, they’re accustomed enough to networking that they’ll ask you about your profession, so you can afford to wait until they give you that opportunity to talk about what you do. But when that time comes, don’t go straight to selling.

Here are some examples of how to connect with powerful people during events

Ivan Misner once shared the following examples of times when he made great connections with successful people while networking up.

business leads can come from the buffet line

The first example happened when he met someone who he knew was a great storyteller. Clearly this person liked stories, so Ivan responded by telling him a funny and relevant tale.

Within minutes, he had the man laughing so hard that he was bent over, holding himself up with his hands on his knees. What’s more, the story was fully related to what was happening at that moment, so the listener could really connect with it.

That was ten years ago, and Ivan now sees this man several times a year and does business with him, because he didn’t try to sell him anything during their first meeting. He simply made a connection with him, in an area that he knew mattered to him.

Another example of a successful connection occurred when he met a highly successful businessman who had a project he wanted to get promoted. Ivan talked with him about the project, then asked, “How can I help you with it?”

The man replied, “I don’t know. I have no idea.”

Then Ivan informed him that he had a blog, and told him about BNI and his membership. The businessman asked, “You’d promote this project for me?”

“Absolutely,” Ivan replied.

As a result, they did a video recording and a blog together, and now Ivan stays in touch with him regularly – all because, instead of looking for ways to sell to him, he looked for ways to help him.

That’s the secret to networking at non-networking events – and at networking events, too. It’s all about generosity, looking out for the other person, being helpful and useful, and focusing on them and their needs instead of you and what you want.

It all comes back to the law of reciprocity: what goes around comes around. Focusing on building a connection doesn’t work perfectly every time, but trying to sell to people the first time you meet them – especially at non-networking events – doesn’t work MOST of the time.

Networking isn’t just a task – it’s a lifestyle

You CAN network anywhere, anytime, as long as you honor the event, and come from a place of curiosity and generosity instead of self-interest.

In fact, you SHOULD network at non-networking events, because making connections and building your network isn’t just an occasional thing; it’s a lifestyle built around relationships. It isn’t just a skill; it’s a mindset and a way of living your life, and it will make a huge difference in your level of success.  Remember, apply the teachings on our blog on follow-up for after the event, just as you would for any event.  Business leads like this need to be nurtured even more than “typical” networking leads.

Ready to create more relationships, and get more business leads, clients and income?

If you want to start connecting with people and getting more business leads, referrals and clients, I have two special invitations for you today:

The first is to visit our website, and listen to Ivan Misner’s podcast about how to network at non-networking events.

And secondly, I invite you to join us at our next BNI meeting!

There, you’ll meet brilliant, like-minded entrepreneurs who would love to support your journey to success, and who have the skills to make that journey faster, easier and more fun.

To find a BNI chapter to visit click this link.

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  3. […] groups or business networking events you can join? Even if it isn’t strictly a networking event, you can still get clients from almost any event you join, if you know […]

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