Brandon Dempsey is an owner of goBRANDgo!, a Saint Louis, MO-based marketing firm and the author of Shut Up And Go!. He spends his time consulting with $10-100M privately held businesses and leading a 12+ member team of marketing professionals. Follow him @brandondempsey.
Recently, YEC spoke with Brandon about his experiences networking and his advice for others aspiring to improve their own experience. His best tips are below.
Make Every Hour of Your Day a Productive One
Never have breakfast, coffee, lunch or happy hour alone. Make it your goal to book every time slot each week with a meeting. You’ll be amazed at what comes from it.
Don’t Shy Away From Sharing Something Personal
I focus on learning and sharing something personal. During a huge networking event, I once talked with someone about his daughters and parenting advice as I was going to be a new father. He remembered me and later introduced me to a $150,000/year client. He said he made the introduction because I was so genuine with him.
Be genuinely interested and seek to learn about people and they will remember you in a positive light.
The best events I’ve found are hosted by organizations that sell to my target market. For instance, I target business owners.
Start by separating the business cards of people you meet into different pockets. My right pocket is the people I want to follow up with, my left pocket is the people I am just going to add to my database. That way when I get home I have clear action plans.
Start the Conversation
At networking events, I often ask people the most exciting thing that’s happened to them in the past two weeks to get the conversation started.
Don’t tell people what you do until they ask. If people don’t ask, they aren’t going to listen.
Once someone asked me if I was an insurance adjuster (I was at an insurance event) and I responded with, “Heck no! Thank God. I’m a marketing guy.” Bad news: he was an insurance adjuster. I felt like a jerk and tried to recover, but don’t believe I ever really did. Don’t speak poorly about any industry.