Specific and Successful Networking Strategy
Linda Kern is a Fraction Sales Officer, who has developed a strong understanding of networking. In this episode she is sharing tips, questions, and take-aways for consultants and new business owners beginning to create their network.
Notes from the Show
Linda Kern is a Fractional Sales Officer at her company, The Kern Group. She works with businesses in transition as they work through trigger events and other business shifts. Today she is sharing her networking knowledge as it pertains to events.
Consultants are our own best tool and we are best suited to put ourselves out there to our target audience. This might be in associations, peer groups, and digital communities, as well as branded events.
What does successful networking look like? Linda says the intention of attending the event should be to have 2 to 3 meaningful conversations. No sales, just relationships. You should prepare by having specific questions to ask during your conversation and your own specific answers and one liners to explain your work.
Networking can be difficult to get started if you lack confidence or have a mental block. When getting started, practicing with a low risk audience is important. Attend events that are involved in your peer group, not big fish clients or even with prospects not in your industry at all.
Linda shares great tips like sticking out in a crowd with a memorable colored jacket or asking the question, "What's a good referral for you?". You can find out more about her by connecting on LinkedIn or you can reach her via email.
How to be better at networking.
How to prepare for networking events.
What does successful networking look like?
How to avoid common networking mistakes.
Getting started with networking as a new business.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Transcribed by AI Susan Tatum 0:36
Welcome back, everybody. I'm Susan Tatum. And today I'm talking with Linda Kern who's the founder of the Kern Group. And she spends most of her time as a fractional Sales Officer. And we're gonna be talking about networking today, which I'm really looking forward to. So welcome, Linda.
Linda Kern 0:53
Thank you, Susan,
Susan Tatum 0:54
tell us before I start asking all my million questions that I have to ask you. Tell us a little bit about what what you're doing as a fractional Sales Officer and who you work with.
Linda Kern 1:02
Yeah, so the kind of work I do is I tend to work with companies that are in some sort of transition. So it might be that they've acquired a company, and they need to build out a sales team or the new president, or they just want to take on more business and they want to grow the existing sales team. So there's some sort of, we call it a trigger event in sales, but some sort of shift in the business that requires somebody with deep sales expertise and knowledge to kind of go in and do some advising and consulting. And most of the time, I'll take on a fractional role, fractional leadership role. And that's really so that they can get the level of expertise and background that I bring without having to pay for it. So meaning that I might dedicate sort of 20% of my time to a client are 40% of my time to a client. And sometimes that looks like me running without paying for actually and helping them build it out. Or me coaching, mentoring and helping really the existing sales leader to get them to another level and their coach in the developing of the sales team. So
Susan Tatum 2:06
and you've had your business for about 18 years now.
Linda Kern 2:10
I think about that. Yeah, yeah. So that that, I started out as a really as a sales trainer. So I used to just run sales, training classes and do some follow up with from those training classes and do some coaching and development. But those engagements might be six to 12 months.
Susan Tatum 2:25
Okay, so you're kind of a sales person, deep down at heart.
Linda Kern 2:31
Hmm, yes, yeah. And I would, nobody ever thinks they're going to be a salesperson, when they're, you know, a kid in, you know, fourth grade or eighth grade, like, what do you wanna be when you grow up, I want to be a filmmaker. Nobody wants to do that. But when I got into the profession, I realized that of my love, my love of working with people, like interacting with people, I love a challenge, they also challenging. And then when I got into working with salespeople, as a coach, mentor, and trainer, I found I loved that even more. So it's like blending these two loves together.
Susan Tatum 3:00
So we're gonna, we're talking about networking today. And that's one of the questions that I get from consultants, what the, you know, the big, the big umbrella question I get is, How do I get more clients?
Linda Kern 3:13
Susan Tatum 3:14
the in the sub subcategories. One of the big ones is networking. And so I invited you here to, to, to help us understand networking. And you know, how, how can we be better at it? What mistakes are we making? I'm just gonna let you riff on it. And I'll bet in when I have a question,
Linda Kern 3:33
yeah, please do by the end, because I love ripping on all things. Dale, so So first of all, consultants, I think it's really important that we get out there, because we are our best sales tool. And by that I mean, our expertise, our knowledge, our approach, or character even like just even how we didn't when we approach them, buddy, and we shake their hand and we look interested in engaged, I mean it all our brand. So I believe we do the best job and the easiest job if we're in front of somebody. So that's sort of number one. And it's it's not the only approach, there can be other approaches as well, such as asking for referrals. And, you know, using LinkedIn, and I know you mentioned you use LinkedIn. So there are other approaches. But this is a very important tool for prospecting. The next thing I'd say about it is important to think about where you're networking, so you want to be networking in it a little bit obvious but outdated anyway, you know, where your target audience is. So as an example, one of my clients sells pension and benefits to company so he needs to go to you know, and it's typically an HR decision, you know, depending on the size of the company, it could be the CEO but he needs to go where where there be HR people where you know, it's a little harder to find where to CEO hang out, but it not as hard to find their you know, HR Association talent and what do they call, you know, talent and culture. So that's important, but also to to hang out in places where your referral partners will be as well because consultant like the tenant benefits and pension fell out. Like he gets referral from accountants and lawyers and, you know, other HR experts who might be solopreneurs, and so on. And so important to go there with Well, I also happen to be a bit of a believer in the Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade, whatever it's called in your city. Because it's sort of foundational place, like, if you're starting to network, and you just want to cut your teeth and get familiar with it, that's a great place to make a team. Because sometimes in the chamber, there are, you know, there's all kind of the people at the Chamber events like real estate agents, insurance, and, you know, financial advisors and everything, not necessarily your target audience. But it's a good just a good place to build your, you know, the number of people that you know, and know you.
Susan Tatum 5:51
Yeah, so, a couple of questions there. And one, just as this, so we're talking about, I guess, the new when you go to where your clients are, it may be local, and maybe national, it may be North America, maybe global, whatever. But the Chamber of Commerce and some of these local agencies, if you have a business, if you serve clients that are in a lot, or in a wider area, it's kind of limiting to be tapped to be face to face. I mean, I heard you say that it's good practice. So that makes sense.
Linda Kern 6:23
Yeah. And that's a great consideration as well, I mean, I, they, how mature and far along are you and your business in terms of where you should be focused. So as an example, a chamber, I happen to be in a big metropolitan area. So although I'm not part of the chamber of the big city, were the sort of the next door, which is still a decent sized chamber. But it's sort of foundational, and so you're out there, and you're meeting people. And you're, you're building the connection of the people that I mentioned, you know, that you know, that know you, but you're also talking with people about their business and about your business. And you're getting invitations to different thing, this is what I've found is like, in the first few years of opening the doors of my business, I did a lot of I without a lot. And I kind of didn't say no to very many invitations, unless it was really Parklawn. But But I mean, like, oh, you should join this networking group. And you should come out to this event. And you can say yes to those or you can say no to those. But the goal depending on how far along you are in your business, if again, just have a big network of people. And but if you're a little further along, you've got a good beta client. And now you want to find who your client base, then yeah, get a little more focused a little sharper in your networking, like, if you are national, or you know, cover can cover an entire state, you know, and then start going to some events, like, you know, the National HR Association, or the California HR Association, like start going start being more more focused in where you get where you spend your time.
Susan Tatum 7:55
So when you go, so when you go to one of those things, you're gonna get you're putting yourself with a bunch of competitors that are there as well, I assume.
Linda Kern 8:04
Yeah, that's, that's a really good point. I mean, you can think of them as competitors. Or you can think of them as an and a lot of that is mindset it is really important. Like, you can also think of them as potential partners. So I'll stick with this easy example of, you know, the HR field, what if what if I'm a pension benefit person and I meet somebody who may offer that but also offer something else that I don't offer so now, if I really liked that person, and you know, we have a coffee and or lunch or something, we get to know each other, I might be able to refer them business or I might be able to bring bring them in to a contract I'm working on so for or if we are direct competitors, but I'll let them land a big piece of the business, maybe I can't do it all myself. So I can actually partner with that person. So it is important to go in with that mindset. And I also sort of think nobody does it exactly like I do and nobody has my approach my I'll go right to personality character. So I still I still have faith in myself that through my approach and meeting people and having conversations about my favorite topic day at all, that I'm going to stand out and take time, right like I've been doing with a long time, though it takes time to get that level of confidence.
Susan Tatum 9:19
i you mentioned that nobody does exactly like you do nobody does it exactly like I do or you know, because it's a service we're providing it. It is a lot of us that is in it and I found that through the years it's really benefited me to build up friendships and relationships with other people that others might say we're competitors that on the on the surface, it looks like we offer the same service, but they take a completely different approach to it they work with different size companies or whatever. And I find that having being able to, to to refer someone if I'm talking to a prospect and I realized this is not a good fit for me, but I refer them to someone that I trust that will do a good job for them. That first of all, it feels better keeps me from taking stuff I shouldn't be taking. And it builds trust, because I said no. And not me. But go here.
Linda Kern 10:13
I love that that is all so, so important. And I actually have said that one of my definitions of a successful network, or even a successful client relationship, is when they start asking you for introductions, the tangential to what you're saying. But yeah, similar, like, when they start asking you for introduction, hey, Linda, you know, you know, a good marketer, like, I don't do that. They know that and, and they, but they tried to sign of trust. Right. Yes. nimbler, like, I don't actually do that. But I've got a, you know, someone in my network. And that's also important in us as solopreneurs, or, you know, consultants or even you know, with a small practice, is knowing like, I know, accountants, I really like nothing to do with my profession. I know, all kinds of people that cover all areas of business that I'm really comfortable recommending, doesn't come up very often. But if it did, I would have a good person I could recommend.
Susan Tatum 11:09
Yeah, one of the things that I found, and I'm more of a do it online person, then than to actually go to a big trade show, or so I think I spent too many years at trade shows early on, having been on my feet all day. But I found that there's digital communities that are of, say, other solo consultants, or owners of similar firms, where you're, you're kind of like sharing, like, I've got this problem, how are you dealing with this problem? What are you finding? And those are? Those are extremely valuable networking places, I think,
Linda Kern 11:42
Oh, those are excellent. I don't know if it felt exactly into the peer group category. But so yeah, yeah, like, I love the concept of peer groups, I actually, in fact, run a failed leader peer group myself, because I love the concept of, you know, like minded people getting together, who can help each other with business challenges and issues. And that's the way to really get to know people, they really get to know you and your approach. You get to know them and their approach. And I think that's a really smart idea.
Susan Tatum 12:14
So what are you? What are your recommendations for there? There are a lot of consultants that are really, really, really good at what they do. They're, they're experts, they can solve a problem like that. But they're terrified, or they're really uncomfortable going out and meeting people, and you use it early on. And I agree, you kind of have to do this. You can't. You can't just sit in your office and expect and I think and I think some consultants find it surprising that it's not the if you build it, they will come kind of a thing. You You've got to be building awareness. What are you? What do you recommend for people that are just really uncomfortable with this?
Linda Kern 12:55
Yeah, yeah. And it's definitely it's definitely out there. There's definitely a lot of people who do have that sort of mind that of Oh, my goodness, what am I going to say? What am I going to do? How am I going to act? So the most important thing is, is what you're thinking when you're going in. So, you know, mindset. So you do not have to dole out 45 cards to people, that's not the objective here. The objective is, first of all, to be thinking, I'm going to have two or three depending on the event and how big it is, and how long and instance stuff but two or three meaningful conversations with with people. And I'm going to go in so I always suggest that people go in with two or three questions that they would want to ask, because I define a successful networking event for myself. And in meeting people, you are three having meaningful, deep conversations, and being the one that asked the questions first, I don't go in and say I do this and am so great. You know, I go in and I go, Oh, Susan, I see your name on your back there. I'm Linda Kern, it's nice to meet you. Well, what do you do? And I'm curious and genuine. And you answer me and then I might say without knowing your answer, I you know, but I'm totally build off what their answer is, but but the next question I typically ask is how long you've been doing that a bit, I might ask what kind of clients do you work with? So I just ask you, you know, questions to get them talking. And I don't feel the pressure. What am I going to say? How am I going to impress them is Susan even a prospect for me? I don't have any of that pressure. This is I'm gonna make two or three have two or three meaningful knife conversation. And then you know, we chat and then most of the time if it's an actual brand and networking event itself, it's gonna it's gonna say well, Linda, what do you do you know, and then I talk but I'm very um, when I speak, I talk about I try and like I try to do a one liner in what I do so people can hang their hat on something you know, like, you know, I work with Salesteam. You know, I've got deep knowledge and and women out there you You've got to be really comfortable depth into words like expert, deep knowledge. I think sometimes as women, we can be a little on it. So I've just made friends with the word expert. And I'm I'm an expert. I'm a deep expert in sales. And I love to work with sales teams. But why
Susan Tatum 15:16
I liked that phrase.
Linda Kern 15:19
Yeah, yeah, it's just, I had to make friends with it, because you know them a whole lot being modest. And, you know, there people who shouldn't be,
Susan Tatum 15:25
is a female thing isn't it?
Linda Kern 15:26
And I Oh, yeah, I don't dominate the conversation. And I don't tell them one story after another, it's really like And you know, my favorite, like, favorite client to work for look like this, or, I, the best impact that can have on a company is one that looks like this. So I'm just sort of maybe telling a little story or, you know, the other thing, I noticed that a lot of times, because both we're not actually sure what each other does. So I've found that if I say, like a, like the head of sale, and a little bit like, actually the actual head of sales, and you may or may not know what that that person would do, but, but I do get sort of 20% of the time for the company. And sometimes when I say that they go, okay, I get it. That would be like some of the things that like, you know, I'm the part time head of finance, I go well, I don't actually know what a finance person does. But I know what that means. Yeah, I understand what they do. So you have to find a way to describe what you do, that people can really get it because people on the surface think I compete with, you know, training company, sales training companies, the big one is Sandler. And really, we would be very complementary. I have a good friend of mine who has a Sandler franchise in my area. And, you know, we actually can collaborate quite well together.
Susan Tatum 16:35
So are you so this is that you're going to a designated networking event?
Linda Kern 16:40
Susan Tatum 16:41
And you're and so it's, especially for those of us who aren't especially good at thinking well on our feet. So I like to be prepared for, you know, a sales call with the client like there. If they asked me this, I know what to say here. But it sounds like what you're saying is you approach these network these networking events, with it with a goal of getting to know other people and and how you can help them and they in return would ask the same questions for because I wouldn't be kind of like, well, what are you looking for?
Linda Kern 17:11
Yeah, it's actually not how I can necessarily help them because I don't actually know. I mean, if it's a very defined networking event, where all of my target audience is there, then in that, like, never happen, then it I'm actually not even I don't even have that objective, I'm actually just have an objective of starting a relationship. That's a hard concept to get across. But that's the goal of networking is to begin to build relationships. And because typically, in a networking event, most of the ones that I go to meet the broad bait the people that are there, and because I actually need to target the CEOs and President and so it, they are hard to find, like the heart pie. They don't yeah, for all of us to call on them. But so so no, I'm not trying to figure out if I met them, that kind of connect is something I'm actually like, you know, do what do I want to have a business relationship with this person that I and I always say to people to about networking is sometimes the worst thing that can happen if you collect a few friends along the way, like can become your business friend? Why come your bread brands? Yay. I love that.
Susan Tatum 18:18
I think that I misspoke. What it what it meant to be saying was that one of my objectives would be to understand what you're looking for. So if I might, if I know people that I can refer to you, or, or something like that.
Linda Kern 18:32
Yeah, I love that's a really good really, really good question to ask in networking event because it's appreciated by the person. So that's the question you could add, you know, when you do? you know, how long you've been doing it? What kinds of clients you work for, and you know, what's a good referral for you? That's a really powerful question in networking, that when you get that question, that networking event, no, you're on a, you're with a group of savvy networkers, because that's why they're there. Not all events that I've been to do they know that. I mean, I've literally been to networking events at the Board of Trade here, where there are business cards that everybody like it, like, let's get the breakfast event, that business card, the brochure that everybody bought, oh, oh, because I don't know you. I don't even know why blah, blah. Consulting does. Yeah. It's not about any, it's not about that at all. But if you go to an event where somebody asks you that, you know, you've got a really good savy networking person here, because that's really helpful. Like, if you ask me that question, then I can tell you, and by the way, you should have an answer for that. It should be somewhat specific, like many of us consultants can work with just about anybody, depending on our area of expertise. And we need that accountant. Everybody should be, you know, looking at their goal on their sale, but we don't work with just everybody super effectively we work with a target audience. So you know, so have your very specific answer. Like I work with companies. You know, can do the, you know, the size of the industry, the number of employees and things like that. But for me, I say my that, that they that, you know, the company's going through some sort of transition, maybe they've acquired. And that's something I came to realize later in my business, I didn't open a company, knowing that it's like, oh, I need to be getting a lot of like I always reflected on my last year sale. Yeah, a lot of that are in transition, hiring a new president, acquiring a company. So that's what I say if you know of any company that's going through a major transition, typically they are going to need to be looked at. So you whatever consulting business you have, you need to have a similar answer that helps people go, if you say, like, I asked somebody one year than two years ago, they live multi level marketing company, and she said, Oh, anyone who wants wants to make more money? And you know what I mean, like everybody does. So I had my rolodex in my head, the roll a deck. I have it. The roll a deck with spinning, and all the cards are flying out. And my brain was on like on overload because I'm like, That's everybody.
Susan Tatum 20:51
Linda Kern 20:52
like I can help her if she said, you know, you know, one of those makeup company, the women over 50, you know, that are entrepreneurs or whoever did yeah, I could, Oh, okay. Now my roll a deck starts to narrow down, and I can start thinking of specific people. So you do want to be specific, even though it feels counterintuitive,
Susan Tatum 21:22
that I preach specificity all the time. And it's getting getting to a good target audience. And a good ideal client, I think, is one of the harder things for consultants to do, especially at the beginning. And one of the most important things for them to do it's the only way to break through the noise.
Linda Kern 21:42
Exactly. Yeah, exactly.
Susan Tatum 21:43
So then let me ask you that that is, that is a specific networking event. So what if you're going to an associate say it's a conference? Would you? Would you consider going to a conference and being a sponsor or having like one of these table things that you were talking about? Is that a networking event?
Linda Kern 21:57
Yeah, I mean, I guess it can have networking as part of that. I would call it sort of a marketing event with networking, because normally all the conferences have, you know, cocktail hour or whatever. My sort of advice in the let's know that. It's exactly the event for you like the complete no brainer, yeah, then sure sponsor, get a table, get a booth. But my advice is that you're not quite sure, just go to the event, buy a ticket as an attendee, and the first year to check it out. Because I find that the case with a lot like if you haven't been before, it's really hard to know. So. So in that particular case, when I choose to do that, I do treat it like a networking event. And I do now I don't look to people who've paid for a booth at the pet peeve of mine, I don't go up to people with paper booth and try to tell them, I didn't bother them. But what get they paid for the booth. But, you know, I'm curious, tell me a little bit about your company. And, you know, and then they'll ask me what I do, but I don't try to pitch them. Because I don't actually believe in pitching, I really believe in, you know, positioning ourselves as being able to help our target audience with some kind of issue that they have a challenge they have, because we really shouldn't sell anything to anybody that they don't need. You know, like, we're not here to push a timeshare on somebody.
Susan Tatum 23:16
Yeah, that's a perfect analogy. I think the word the word pitching makes me cringe anyway, you're,
Linda Kern 23:23
I had to bet with my clients you that, like, oh, let's go do a pitch.
Susan Tatum 23:27
And you're like, it's good to go back to this, say you're at a conference, what you say you're, you're not going to pitch anybody, you wouldn't pitch anybody anyway. But you're not going to take their time they paid to be there for a reason, you're not going to try to take their time to talk about what you do, or try to get any information out of them about what problems they may be having, because their mind is somewhere else. What then is your Do you try to catch them at a cocktail hour? Or are you just making mental notes of who you met? And you'll follow up later? It..
Linda Kern 23:58
Yeah, it's those are good questions. I mean, yes. And yes, yes. And yes. I mean, if it if it's really obvious that this is the target of mine, like it, like the sweet photo, I'd love to work with that company and help them with their sales team. Aye, aye, I still wouldn't be very pitchy because if you think of who's in the booth, it's probably the sales people. And why wouldn't a sale like a person could say, yeah, that'd be great. Come on, and do some training and coaching. We'd love to get your help, you know, and then you get to the decision maker who, you know, could fire everybody and failed agents. Like they don't know the corporate direction. So yeah, so sometimes you're not actually talking to the right. Any you couldn't be curious if I was if I thought oh, this is a great company. I'd love to work with you guys. I probably just do the same thing I do in my day, every sales call the just be curious. So you know, how do you guys approach your clients See, you're at the straight show. There are other things you do, but I try to approach it from a place of curiosity rather than a pitch. Yeah, you know, which we both hate, but I And it's it's not solely because they paid the event. It's just that when I did a boo, and like because you can you can pick up the energy, right? Like you can pick up the person that just going dropping the cards at every booth trying to get business versus somebody who Oh, you know, we should maybe we should get together have a coffee after that, you know, I might be able to help you guys with that issue, it would be very organic. That's just me, like my approach is I just don't believe in a hard sell though, that I don't know, if anyone wants to do that
Susan Tatum 25:27
wants to stick with the HR, let's say it's an HR Association, and it's a conference that they're having. So probably the people that are having booths or exhibitors, and they're not really they're not your target market anyway, for the most part. So then you're looking for opportunities during the day when either in meetings that they may be in or stuff like that you're looking for an opportunity to meet them and talk to them.
Linda Kern 25:54
Yeah, like one. One thing that's good at these conferences are, I try to attend so you're right, HR is not my target. I have never been tired of HR. I tried to go to the breakout session. And I also have decided rather than put pressure on myself, right next to the right, perfect person, I'm going to go around the room and I'm going to use my judgmental Guild and I'm going to say, no, that white guy looked like like, pardon I just sitting down with someone who lives with interesting, like I try to be it's always kind of been my approach with stuff like that. If it's meant to be it'll be so I don't because I don't want that pressure of OH, at that with the wrong person. I just go to those things. And I I also try, although the target if you're a little shyer, but, you know, I'd sit where I feel like that might be an interesting person to meet. But I also might have to ask a question, you know, because when the other thing I do, they'll be but is I try to wear a jacket of a memorable color. They actually that's actually speaking tip, if you're a speaker ever at a conference, where a bright color so that if anybody wants to come up and find you afterwards, ask you a question. Oh, it's the guy in the dark blue, you know, probably better light blue shirt, red jacket, or the man in the orange, peach, whatever. So that you want to make it easy for them to find you. But so sometimes they'll actually do that if I'm not the speaker, but I'll try to ask the question as well. Just just always, in this world of selling, we're trying to be different from the pack. So you don't We're not we are not hardcore salespeople. It's just a little thing where people will pay a little bit of attention. Oh, she's going to ask the question. She's a sales expert or whatever.
Susan Tatum 27:38
So you would ask a question of the speaker.
Linda Kern 27:39
I wouldn't sorry. Yeah, that's what I'm okay.
Susan Tatum 27:42
Yeah. Okay, so then I have a lot of other questions, but we're gonna run out of time. And I want to be sure that we hit on the topic of the mental blocks that how do you work through is how do you work through just being uncomfortable doing it?
Linda Kern 27:55
Yeah. It's so important, because we've learned over the years without multi core courses, we've taken that everything starts with a thought birth. And if I'm super fearful of going into this all nervous, because I mean, there have been times even with an outgoing personality, there have been times where I've been very nervous when I was younger. When I first started when I was first a sales trainer. And I was going to be getting in front of my first glance, I'll never forget, I could build it in my mind died, it was like 30 years ago. And I thought to myself, what I'm going to do is if it when I watch other people who are good speakers, and I did happen to work with people who were very, very good at facilitating training classes, if they can do it, I can do it, I'm going to mimic them. So that's part of the mindset was, I can do this, if they can do this. So that's one thing I'd say if you can do, I can do that. I can meet, you know, on Susan's podcast. And then two or three people I can meet, I've got a day, I can meet two or three people and have an interesting conversation, even if it's over lunch. Yeah, you know, you. And then secondly, remember that it is your it's not what you say that sometimes I think we get tripped up and what am I going to say the only business that is important to have that scripted out? Let's start with a question like, oh, Susan, what do you do? you know that so that mind that take the pressure off of, you know, I've got to make a sale today. Because that's not the it's not the goal, you could go to an event and have had three conversations with really nice people and gotten nowhere that day. That's okay, because you can't always control all those variables. So yeah, and then the other one is the visualization, which we've known for a long time to do, you know, you didn't really want to visualize yourself stepping cuz I do that to stepping into the room, walking up to somebody and I will actually have gotten myself to a place where I can walk up to two people who are chatting and sort of stand there and wait to be invited in not been invited in and been perfectly okay with that moved on. Most of the time. I think 90% of the time. They're like, Oh, they'll step back and bring you in. That's hard. So maybe go with somebody that, you know, at the food table or you know, by themselves at the food table or who's sort of standing like you looked like they feel like you do now. Find them and you standing alone?
Susan Tatum 30:11
That's a good idea
Linda Kern 30:12
Oh, yeah, right. Yeah, I believe to two people talking could be hard.
Susan Tatum 30:15
One way, I know that there are lots of other things that you you can offer on this, but wouldn't be mindful of your time. One last question. If you were starting your business, and you are networking, would you focus on going to events where your clients are going to be? Or going to events where referral partners are going to be? Which would you do first?
Linda Kern 30:39
So I'd say the answer to that would be if you are uncomfortable with networking, practice with the referral partners First, don't don't practice with the live audience, so to speak. And I'd say that be friendlier, you know, potentially a friendlier audience, because you're all they're looking to find referral partners, depending on the event. Yeah. So cut your teeth, get the nerves out of the way, practice asking questions. I mean, if you're really nervous, go to an event with there's nothing at stake, like just go to a Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce event, and where you're going to be meeting all kinds of people and just practice, practice, practice. And then yeah, go ahead.
Susan Tatum 31:20
That's a good advice. That's,
Linda Kern 31:22
yeah, because I like it. Like when a new salesperson starts at a company to call in anybody to cut your teeth to the practice, even if it's like, not the ideal target audience, get some practice. Get out there, say the wrong thing. Get a small order. Like who cares? You know, you, you don't want to be going after the big fish too soon, because you don't know the business well enough yet. Right? You're just kind of make it worse pile on the pressure on yourself. Yeah. Now, when you are comfortable with one, one or two or three of those big fish in your pipeline. And could they they take a long time to land though, you know, a year or two years, depending on what you sell? Yeah, but so there's that. Yeah, specifically with networking. There's that. That's what I would do. The other thing I began, oh, this is mostly about networking. But you can also leverage LinkedIn, LinkedIn has become a really, really valuable tool to just, you know, hey, you need to go to any events or, you know, like LinkedIn. So it's a really good little messaging tool.
Susan Tatum 32:20
Yeah, I just, I can't help myself. I have to throw in as long as you're human about it. And you're not just shooting out a bunch of spam. Oh, I know. You would never do that. I that. That was for anybody that's listening.
Linda Kern 32:32
Yeah, yeah. No, 100%. Like, no, it's worst thing. Because, again, it's like, you open up your business and you think you've got to start selling yet. No, like, like, the email that you get where I get emails, they get LinkedIn messages where they don't know anything about me. Yeah. Like, do I want a whole IT department? No.
Susan Tatum 32:54
It's that old. It's an old spray and pray sales thing that transactional salespeople used to do? I assume they still do. But now it's just it's clogging up LinkedIn. Do you mind if people that follow up with you if they have questions after what you're talking about here? What's
Linda Kern 33:14
my passion is helping people so yeah, they don't don't don't have them. I don't want anyone to feel any pressure that they have to give me business and super happy to take a call make an email. I really, I really make me happy to try to help people in any way. I'm always meeting people like at the carwash. I'm best friends with the guy now because I've given him ideas on you should go networking. You should. You should talk about that. And I'm not trying to sell you anything here. I really want to help you like it's just that we're wired.
Susan Tatum 33:40
That's Funny. So what is the best way for them to get to you?
Linda Kern 33:45
Okay, probably email, email. It's probably okay.
Susan Tatum 33:47
So we'll put that in the show notes so people can find you. And thank you so much for being here. It's, I have taken a couple pages of notes.
Linda Kern 33:57
Awesome. It is my pleasure to be here. Susan, you let me know if you ever want to do that. Again. This has been really fun to work with you.
Susan Tatum 34:03
I will do that Thank You.