If there was something I hated more than “selling”, it was probably “networking”. Now, Matthew Pollard, author of The Introvert’s Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone, is back with a new book, The Introvert’s Edge to Networking.
I liked Matthew’s first book so much I had him come on Sales for Nerds (catch the episode here), so I was excited to get a pre-release copy of his new one. (This podcasting thing does have its perks.)
I wish I’d had this book years ago, too…
Simple, Practical Advice for Introverts
As expected, Matthew offers simple, practical advice for introverts who think they hate networking, because they approach it all wrong. (Not that I would know anything about that.)
If you take nothing else away from this book, know that introverts actually have an advantage while networking (this plays into my whole philosophy that non-sales-y people actually have a huge advantage in sales, marketing, and indeed, networking), because they can actually listen to people, instead of just talking about themselves.
The book goes into lots more details on why introverts hate networking (unnecessarily), and, most importantly, how to make networking enjoyable and productive without trying to impersonate an extrovert. (That’s miserable and exhausting– I’ve tried.)
Positioning and Unified Message
Matthew talks about the importance of positioning (see more on that below) and having a Unified Message that makes you attractive to your ideal clients and referral partners. Too many people commodify themselves, and then wonder why networking is so hard.
(True story… Matthew and I both live in Austin, home to approximately 1,000,000,000 web designers. Whenever I meet one, I ask how I would know if someone is an ideal referral for them. People are always asking me for people to help with their websites, and I’d love nothing better than to make those connections. But most of these designers have no positioning. One told me, “anyone with a website is a great customer… And actually, if they don’t have a website, they need us even more.”)
Matthew has some great tips for refining your positioning, Unified Message, and story, including talking to your customers. In fact, when reading these chapters, I thought I was reading a more polished version of my Sales and Marketing Bootcamp agenda. (He also has some tips on who not to talk to, because despite good intentions, some people often give bad advice in this area.)
It’s a System You Can Practice
With all this in place, you can then systematize networking, and of course Matthew tells you how. Don’t just show up– prepare in advance, and follow-up afterward. This will give you a huge edge over extroverts who just show up and socialize.
Matthew notes that:
“90 percent of networking success happens outside the room.”
Plus, it’s a repeatable, improvable process that you’ll get more comfortable with and better at over time. And it applies even more in the age of virtual networking.
The book also discusses three types of networkers:
- Balance-sheet makers
Guess which one you want to be? And which one you probably are naturally?
When you have faith in the system, you don’t have pressure on any single conversation or contact. And, realizing that you’re not trying to sell anyone when you network with them, you can be natural and helpful. (Sales and referrals can come out of networking, and Matthew has some more great tips for how to manage the transition.)
(Bonus: If you preorder the book by January 18, you can get a set of preorder bonuses, including video training, a one page story template developed for Oracle, a Facebook community, and more. Sign up for all that here.)
Sounds like it’s time for Matthew to come back on Sales for Nerds…
The Introvert’s Edge to Networking with Mimiran
If you’re a Mimiran user, you can implement some of the ideas in The Introvert’s Edge to Networking to make networking as an introvert easier. And if you’re not, you can take advantage of some free tools to work on your positioning and Unified Message.
Mimiran’s positioning wizard helps you figure out your niche, especially when you combine it with customer calls.
Matthew’s Unified Message is called “Superhero Name” in Mimiran. The idea is that rather than being “a” something, you are “the” someone. (A web designer vs. the Cart Abandonment Rescuer. A business coach vs the Succession Iceberg Navigator.)
Every superhero needs an origin story, and Matthew gives some great tips on developing yours so that it will be interesting to your audience. You can create this story in Mimiran, and even get some hints if you’re stuck. The key is to be authentic about how you got to where you are, not tell a story like a resume.
You can use Matthew’s scripts as Content Snippets in Mimiran, so they’re available when you pick up the phone.
Naturally, you want to track referrals, which Mimiran does (why don’t other CRMs do this?), along with a report on which referral partners send you how much business.
Origin Story in Lead Magnets and Proposals
Put your origin story in your lead magnets and proposals, so people know the person behind the company. You can even record your story as a video (highly recommended, and one of the most challenging and rewarding parts of Sales and Marketing Bootcamp) and embed it in this content.
And don’t forget to pick up The Introvert’s Edge to Networking in your preferred book format on Amazon. It’s a fast read, but packed with useful tips that will change the way you think about networking, and what it can do for your business.
And remember, don’t “nework”– “connect”.