Networking Tips that Make Sense-
No more ineffective Old School Ways!
Networking tips is a very hot topic. Do you know why? No, not because it’s summertime! It’s a hot topic because people are inappropriately networking. Not sure that’s you? Let’s find out!
Definition of Networking
According to BusinessDicitionary.com, networking is “Creating a group of acquaintances and associates and keeping it active through regular communication for mutual benefit. Networking is based on the question “How can I help?” and not with “What can I get?”
There are a few points to latch onto in this networking definition:
CREATING – implying you developing something
ACTIVE – not passive… taking action
REGULAR – consistently and/or systematically
COMMUNICATIONS – both verbally & virtually/social media
MUTUAL BENEFIT – for both parties to gain
HELP – serving others is the quickest way to success
Networking isn’t about “what you can get”. I love this. It’s why most people are ineffective at networking! Too many people are still trying to pitch their offerings. Worse yet, they aren’t even listening to you. They’re just trying to figure out what they can say next to “close” you. Have you recently had one of those experiences? The last one I had was about 3 months ago. When I finally broke free I felt like I needed a shower.
There’s been a big push for a decade to conduct business activities in an authentic manner. This is extremely important to effective networking. For decades the networking approach was more similar to a used car salesman approach. His objective was: pitch, put his card in your hand, and collect your information so he could start his sales process.
Today, there is a much better approach to networking. Introducing yourself, asking a question or two, and listening to the answer. Listening for clues regarding how you may be able to assist the person you are speaking to. Mutually conversing. Mutually exchanging business cards – if it is appropriate. But what you do with them next is even more important than introducing yourself to a stranger. What do you do with business cards?
THIS IS A REALLY BIG NET-WORKING TIP:
After you meet someone, reach out to them. Ideally through social media and in-person or via phone. Yes, I just said it’s important for you to speak to the person again.
What on earth do you say? One thing has worked really well for me: when I get a card from someone, I write down something very important about them or our conversation to help me remember them. I also include the date and when we met. Why? So when I reach out to them I can share something about our time together. The conversation becomes a warm call instead of a cold call.
OK, I’m reaching out… now what do I do?
Ask for a time and set an appointment to have a conversation with eachother to learn more about what THEY do so you can offer THEM appropriate referrals.
Introduce them to appropriate people who will help them (typically as customers or other great connections).
Send them a “Glad to meet you” card/message or anything else they would appreciate. With social media making our lives so easy, you can connect with them on LinkedIn and then send them an article “gifting them”. Wouldn’t you appreciate it if someone sent you something you’d appreciate?
BECOME A NETWORKING MASTER:
About 5 years ago I went to an event on Networking. What happened next was a miracle. I met a man who had similar ideas regarding how to build authentic and extremely valuable mutual relationships. It was the presenter of the event, Joe Sweeney. He is an extremely smart man with a heart of gold. He is the author of “Networking is a Contact Sport” (New York Times Best Seller). This book is brilliant. I share it with everyone who wants to know how to network well. I suggest everyone read it. Up your game. His suggestions make sense and are easy to apply. If you apply only half of what’s in the book, you’ll be a networking rock star!
Feel free to leave a comment about which networking tip you are going to build into your networking process to secure your business’s success…
THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS!
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p. s. One of the best groups I’ve experienced who really conducts actual authentic networking to build relationships and help each others’ business grow: Wisconsin Business Owners. With one meeting a month, there’s plenty of time to do follow-up conversations to build new relationships.