Episode 107: Show Notes
Today we welcome Renée Dalo of Moxie Bright Events. Renée is a Southern California wedding planner and she is also the leader of the Los Angeles chapter of the Rising Tide Society. Today’s episode is all about that icky word, “networking.” Renée has really used this practice to build her business from the ground up. To this day, over a decade later, almost 99% of her clients have come from customer or friend referrals. Networking has been vital to the growth of her business and Renée is extremely knowledgeable in this realm that many of us don’t really know how to effectively tackle.
In today’s episode, Renée gives us actionable steps that we can take away for avoiding awkward conversations and cultivating better networking practices. We talk about ghosts, being authentic, and why business is ultimately all about people. Whether you are in event planning or not, Renée has a lot of great tips for your business and personal life. So either way, or if you just need a good belly-laugh, this episode will be right up your alley. Take a listen!
The Origin Story Of Renée’s Business
Renée has been running Moxie Bright professionally for four years but planned her first wedding, her best friend’s wedding, 11 years ago. Between that first wedding and officially opening up Moxie Bright, Renée planned over 60 weddings. Renée claims that she owes her entire business success to networking and word of mouth. Starting a new business in Los Angeles, Renée soon realized that the only way to thrive was to know everyone. In her first two years of business she made it her aim to go around and show up. Because, “the people that show up are the people that you trust. The people that you trust are the people you give money to,” according to Renée. Flash forward to 2017 and Renée has 21 weddings booked. Out of the 21, 20 have been word of mouth referrals. Because, at the end of the day, business is people. Right?
What Enabled Renée To Grow Her Business
Renée believes that growth only comes when you are slightly uncomfortable and resistant. She had to take on bigger clients, even when she didn’t necessarily want to, and break the mindset of, “Oh, that’s for other people. Other people are good at that but I’m not.” In addition to Renée’s addiction to professionalism, she also went on to rebrand her business in 2015. Renée had hit a small plateau and her website was gaining little traction, so she hired a professional to fix it. Once Renée rebranded, people started to take her business a little more seriously, as it looked more upscale and professional. The rebranding seemed to instil more confidence in potential clients and open up a whole new realm for her.
What people often don’t realize is, like rebranding, that they can redevelop their personality traits too. We are quick to tell ourselves, “Oh, I’m not good at networking.” Well maybe you weren’t five years ago. But today, you can be. You can change that. You can create environments that you feel more comfortable in, and this, Renée believes, is the key to networking. But the first hurdle is overcoming the biases we have against ourselves. You don’t want to walk around a party slipping business cards into people’s pockets. You want to be authentic. This doesn’t mean that everyone has to like you and that’s okay. You have to get comfortable with your authentic self. That’s the first and most important part of networking. Life is short, so be yourself.
Things We Hate About Networking Events
When someone asks for a business card before trying to get to know you, it can be kind of frustrating. Try to do business on the spot, but be a human first. Add that person right then and there on Instagram, DM them the same day, or the next, mentioning what you spoke about. Don’t try to just dish out all your business cards, that’s not the goal. The people you remember at networking events are the ones you had a good, interesting, funny, or slightly personal conversation with. Not the person who slapped a business card in your hand like it was $1 change.
Try not to open a conversation with a business card. Why not pay someone a compliment? Don’t be fake, but if you follow their Instagram account and you genuinely like it, tell them. If you like their earrings or a video they posted online, whatever it might be, tell them. They will remember you because everyone wants to feel appreciated. Start with something positive. Ask them about themselves. And don’t be ashamed to plan. If you’re afraid of being stumped in conversation, plan your questions in the car ride over. Or hey, if the conversation is stalling, just ask silly questions like Renée does. Like, “Hey do you believe in ghosts?” Every person will have an answer to this. If they don’t, you’ll sure have a story...
Be Authentic But Savvy
Renée swears by the The 2+2 method. Have two talking points prepared about yourself. One business, one personal. Like, “I booked this great client this week,” or “My husband and I are going to Hawaii.” Then have two questions in your back pocket. One silly, like the ghosts. And one about where you are. Physically. Like, “Have you been here before? Do you know the owner? Do you know the organizer?” Only talk about your personal stuff if it’s a scar, and not a wound. Like if you’re having a fight with your partner, that’s yours. Keep it to you. If it’s a scar, something you have healed and learnt from, then that’s okay. Be authentic, yes, but also be savvy. Make boundaries, be prepared, and try not to drain others with messy stories.
Continuing The Conversation After The Event
How do we make the most of a networking event after we’ve left? Renée writes on the back of all the business cards she gets at the end of every event. She marks who is who, or who she wants to get in touch with immediately, and contacts them the next day. So what do you say in the follow up email? It depends on the type of relationship you’re wanting to have with that person. But if you want to be friends, know more about them, or chat more in depth about a specific topic – invite them for a coffee. If you’re kind of interested in a person, or would like to introduce them to more people in your network, perhaps invite them to an event with others. Something like “Hey I’m going to this thing, would you like to come too?” Sometimes, you also just need a work wife. A partner in the industry who you can call up and attend these things with. This also enables you to be a connecter for somebody else, which can take the pressure off of you.
Offer people multiple ways to get in touch with you. Because often, people live far away and you cannot connect in person. So join a Facebook group for example, or create your own. And if the group is small and active, try to meet up with those people once every quarter. Although, face-to-face networking is ultimately better, you can still make authentic connections online. It’s just about being authentic. Don’t enter every networking event thinking, “What can I get out of this?” Enter thinking, “Okay, who here can I help?” Renée is someone who likes to give and give and give and give. Because if you do, eventually you will get.
Five Tips For Someone Attending A Network Event
Establish your goals. What do you want to achieve from this networking platform? Do you want to meet new people? Meet one person in specific? Connect somebody else? Are you trying to meet new clients?
Before the event, do what you can to make yourself feel awesome, whether it’s buying that new dress or going for a run. (A quick secret: Renée rents her clothes for important events.) You want to walk in feeling pumped up and confident.
Arm yourself with some talking points.
Try to relax. But don’t down the (alcoholic) drinks!
Fully engage with the surroundings. Don’t sit there on your phone. Be there.
Renée has a new course for better networking available at: thestrategyhour.com/networking
- How one wedding was the origin of Renée’s business. [0:04:18.1]
- What enabled Renée to grow her business to a 99% referral rate. [0:08:56.1]
- Things we hate about networking events and how to avoid them. [0:20:05.1]
- Be authentic but savvy: networking tips continued. [0:20:05.1]
- Continuing the conversation after the event and how to follow up. [0:34:20.1]
- Five tips for someone attending a network event and what exactly to focus on. [0:43:43.1]
- Establish your goals.
- Feel awesome.
- Have talking points.
- Try to relax.
- Fully engage.