Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

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.

*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com

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  • Phil

    Josh – you keep finding great people to interview. April is amazing and full of energy and joy, and is fun to talk to on the phone too.

    She is ALWAYS the coolest person in the room, no doubt. 🙂

  • April Groves

    Phil $5 to come on here and say that!

    Seriously, thanks Phil – coming from the guy who makes negativity look stupid, I take that as a huge compliment. I really appreciate it.

    Josh – meeting you has been a treat. Thanks for the opprotunity.

  • Josh Hinds

    Phil, thanks for the kudos 🙂 I’m always quick say I learn as much from each interviews as anyone does. I agree 100% with you about April. She really did share some terrific insights here.

    April, it was a treat to meet you too. And again, I’m thankful that you were willing to participate in the interview.

    Appreciatively, Josh 🙂

  • AUSTIN REALTOR’S WIFE

    April’s networking skills are amazing- there is no doubt in my mind that if I know anyone in her state, I will refer to her (all the way from Texas)! Her natural talent of disarming people with her genuine kindness is so charming you can’t HELP but want to know her (thus the core of networking).

    Great interview, Josh!

  • Josh Hinds

    Austin Realtor’s Wife, I couldn’t agree more about what terrific networking skills April has.

    Your point about having no doubt you would refer business her way if you were able to really touches on a major benefit that is afforded to those who get the whole importance of developing their networking skills. Like the old saying goes… people like to do business with and recommend those they like and trust — they’ll even seek them out and make the choice to do business with them whenever it’s possible to do so 🙂

    Also, thanks for kudos on the interview — I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    -Appreciatively, Josh