April Groves Interview – Real Estate Agent and Blogger
April Groves is the wife of one, the mother of four, a Navy vet, and a full time real estate agent. She has recently taken on the title of avid blogger. She is passionate about children, education, and positive contribution. She enjoys reading, discussing politics over coffee, and Rocky Balboa — even Rocky V.
She lives in coastal Georgia and can’t imagine being anywhere else — even when it’s hot. She runs a blog called, Making Life Work for You.
Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?
April Groves: We live in a world of options. Consumers have so many places in which to spend their hard earned dollar. This is the crux of why business networking is important. People want to do business with people they can trust.
My idea of Business Networking is that it is the vehicle in which one can build that trust. It is my best opportunity to learn who I can do business with for my personal needs.
More importantly, it also affords me the opportunity to establish relationships with folks I can feel comfortable in referring their services. It is common for my clients to ask me for my recommendation for an auto repairman, hair dresser, pet sitter… the list is long. It is my main goal to effectively serve my clients — giving them great resources is part of that service.
Networking also allows people to get to know me as an individual. This is great for me in two ways. First, hopefully things go well and they will look to me as someone they can do business with or refer others to. Second, they are able to teach me things that I would not have learned from a book or a seminar. These people are getting to know me so they are typically better equipped to give constructive feedback and development suggestions.
Josh: Can you share one or two ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?
April Groves: The best thing I learned is the difference between a networking event and sales call. If you miss the difference between these two, the results can be disastrous.
If you are on a sales call, typically the person you are speaking with is a potential client. You carry that conversation as such. However, a networking opportunity is different. You aren’t there to make direct sales — you are there to create resources and relationships — sales come later. I have noticed that there are always a few folks who seem less involved with others at these events. Their common quality is that they always seem to be asking every person, in one way or another, for a check.
Stated differently, effective networking is not about selling every person in the room. It is about being remembered after the event as someone who was a real person.
For me, I strive to be remembered as the person who is interested in the people around me. It is my goal at every event I attend to assist at least one other person in achieving their goals. It is this offering of support without expectation that makes my life meaningful as a person. It also has the residual benefit of growing my business.
Josh: April, do you see any common mistakes people tend to make when it comes to attempting to make business connections? If so what are they and what corrections could they make in your opinion which would help them to be more effective in their approach towards networking?
April Groves: Folks seem to do better when they place more emphasis on the person they are talking to than on themselves. So, I guess that would mean that the biggest mistake I see is people who are tense and overanxious.
They feel like they have lost an opportunity if they don’t give their entire pitch within the first two minutes of meeting a person. In fact, the opposite is true. I spoke earlier about the trust factor. Encouraging people to speak to you rather than you talking at them is a major piece of the trust structure. Engaging others in conversation will produce more benefits than swapping cards and pitches.
The best advice I was ever given in networking came from my husband. I was scared to death walking out the door to my first event. You see, I had spent the previous 11 years in coveralls and combat boots with the US Navy. This was a whole new (and intimidating) world for me.
My husband looked at me and said, “Remember, you are the coolest person in the room. You like people and people like you. Relax and everything will be fine.” I still felt like an elephant in a room of swans, but it was a good first step. “Relax” was the key.
If you are living your life with good will and good intentions, if you strive to be ethical and exceptional at your profession and you believe strongly in the benefit of assisting others, networking events will morph themselves into everything you ever needed them to be for your business.
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