Powerful Networking: Focus on Building Connections, Not Closing Sales
You can find numerous references in the business literature about the importance of a company's mission. These sources emphasize that the mission is not to make a profit; that a profit is the outcome of and reward for fulfilling the mission. In the same sense, the mission of networking is not to gain business and close sales. The mission of your networking activities is to make connections, develop relationships, and help others. The outcome of these activities will ultimately be increased business. It's the reward, not the purpose.
Matt Soltis, in his book Strategic Networking, says, "Although an early supporter of business networking, I became quickly disillusioned with it as a mainstay of my marketing plan. I found that something was missing from those long sessions of glad-handing and exchanging business cards. I had collected a pocketful of business cards but little else.
"While I was analyzing my needs and talents it was pointed out by my personal coach that I had a behavioral style that lent itself to chatting, while listening took a back seat. How could I learn if I would not listen?
"At the next opportunity to network, I intentionally listened, never interrupted, and found myself very interested in the other person's business. When I spoke, I asked questions, just a few, but selective so that they elicited answers about the other person's needs. I had stumbled on to the answer I was looking for. I wasn't there to find clients. I was recruiting others to look for my clients and pledging to reciprocate as I learned more about their business. I was participating in something I later described as strategic referral networking."
So how can you approach networking from a prospective that ultimately leads to increased business? First, it is important to understand that developing a network is a process, and it is about building relationships. A key objective of effective networking is to find out about others - their concerns, problems, needs, and wants.
Become a problem-solver and a resource. Listen for problems you can help others solve, either directly or by referring them to someone else in your network.
Practice the fine art of questioning (and listening). Asking open-ended questions, and really listening to the other person's responses, is one of the most important networking skills. Some key questions or statements you can use to elicit additional information include:
· What would be an example of that?
· Please expand on that.
· Tell me more.
· How do you do that?
Be curious. Develop a true interest in others, what they do, and what they need.
Follow up and stay in touch. Developing a network is not about attending a bunch of meetings, having a meal, and going home. After all, the word "work" is part of "network." Remember, developing a network is a process. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, describes networking as a process of developing visibility and credibility. Only then will your activities lead to profitability. It may take as many as five to 15 contacts with an individual over a period of weeks, months, or even years to develop the kind of visibility and credibility that leads to profitability.
Look for ways you can support your network members. It's not always about doing business with or even referring business to them. Some ways for you to support your network members include:
· Posting their information on your website or in your newsletter.
· Inviting them to speak at an organization in which you are involved.
· Doing joint promotional projects with them.
· Distributing their information.
· Nominating them for recognition and awards.
· Inviting them to attend events with you.
Arrive early, stay late, and get involved. Take a leadership role in the organizations you are involved in. It's a great way of becoming more visible and developing greater credibility with a larger number of people in a shorter amount of time. Focus on giving, not getting. If you look for ways to assist others, you will be rewarded for your efforts both directly and indirectly in unexpected ways.
Don't keep score. "Successful networking is never about simply getting what you want. It's about getting what you want and making sure that people who are important to you get what they want, too," said Keith Ferrazzi during a January 2003 interview for Inc. magazine. Or as Sandra Yancey, founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork quotes her mother as saying, "Give without remembering and take with out forgetting."
In addition to the ultimate reward of increased business, effectively developing your network will bring you:
· Different prospectives
· A support team
· Strategic alliances
· Access to resources
· Advice and Ideas
· More potential solutions
In his book, Soltis points out another value of networking: the ability to bring your clients value-added relationships through referring them to the right individuals to help them solve all of their personal and business dilemmas - whether it is a tax question, temporary housing, or a place to board an exotic pet. As you determine the role that networking plays in your business-building strategies, ask yourself these questions:
· How can I assist the members of my network?
· What are their needs?
· What resources can I bring to them?
· What connections can I help them make?
What can you expect if you put in the time and effort required to develop an effective network? To paraphrase Yancey, from her CD, Increase Your Net Worth by Developing Your Network: A strong network brings the power to make things happen and provides a safety net when things aren't going so well.
© 2004 Strategies-by-DESIGN. May be reprinted with credits and contact information.
Julie Chance is president of Strategies-by-Design, a Dallas-based marketing consulting firm specializing in marketing programs including marketing coaching for professional service providers. If you are interested in additional information about how to develop more leads, turn those leads into loyal customers, and obtain a greater return from your marketing investment, Julie invites you to sign-up for their free marketing tips newsletter at http://www.strategies-by-design.com.
Have We Met Before? What to Do When You Cant Remember Who Yourre Talking To
You see him from across the room. You know him, but you can't remember how you know him.
Two-Step Your Communication
Ever use someone else to get your message out?For example, big, multi-location companies sometimes make important announcements through local plant or office managers, rather than at head office. Another example: advocacy groups that ask their members to individually write or call politicians.
The Power of Word of Mouth
Most of us remember the commercial that said, "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and?", well you get the picture. This commercial, which represented Breck Hair Shampoo, ran so many times that even I remember who the commercial represented.
Building Business Relationships in a Roomful of Strangers
You approach a stranger at an association meeting or industry conference with you arm outstretched and say: "Hi. My name is?.
Success Sentences to Help Combat Conversational Crappiness
Essential to your success as an effective, engaging communicator is learning not only what to say, but what not to say. The following guide examines several sentences, phrases and questions that stand in your way of connecting and communicating with confidence.
The Five Step Formula For Getting Prospects to Call You
Are you tired of prospecting for new business?Are you sick of networking, begging for referrals, or spending a small fortune on advertisements that produce little results?Wouldn't it be nice if you could just sit down at your desk and have the phone ring knowing that new business is on the other end of the line?Who wouldn't, right..
Practice Makes Pefect
What is the problem when people try to describe what they do and they stumble over their words and never consistently repeat the same message?Have you ever gone to a networking event and the person next to you is trying to describe what they do and they keep miscuing the words? This happens so often at these events. The major problem, besides focus, is the fact that they have not practiced their spiel.
Networking Skills: Arguing in Context
If you're fond of a good debate, you know how to annihilate someone else's position in an argument while still somehow managing to keep a friendly rapport with that person. This tactic is frequently used by politicians and lawyers, and one that will no doubt come in handy in online networking.
Make Money on the Internet - The Lifestyle Advantages of Professional Marketers
Some of the most successful businesses in existence today started in a box room, bedroom or garage. It isn't how you start out to make money at home that is important.
How to Create an Interest Story for the Press
What makes a good interest story?An interest story is just that, an interest story. It means that you have something interesting to say and therefore have something of interest to be printed.
How many leads do you pass on?As a reminder, you must give a lot before you can expect any leads from the group. You must be able to define your best customer, give your pitch and describe what you do best.
The Anatomy of a Brain Cramp; The Retainer and the Lavalava - Communication
In life, you have to successfully work with people to get anywhere. You can't avoid it.
Are You Building Relationships Online?
How's your relationship?I'm not prying into your personal life, so no need to worry. it's just that lately I've noticed something about most network marketers which got me thinking.
How to Organize a Successful Bad Sweater Party
"Hey Scott, would you like to go to a Bad Sweater Party this weekend?""A what party?!" I said."A Bad Sweater Party.
How to Collect Business Cards
Why the business card grab is not why you are there? So how do you obtain the card and show interest that gains confidence?One of the things I am also always asked is, "How do you collect cards?" and "What do you do with them when you get them back to the office?" What really happens when you collect business cards? Often they get put into a pocket with many others. Have you ever collected cards to later find out that you have no idea who the person was? This happens all the time.
Why Bother With Social Networking Sites Like LinkedIn?
Q: I think I understand the value of networking as well as the next businessman, but for the life of me, I don't really see what sites like LinkedIn, Ryze and Ecademy can do for me. What's the point of these sites other than just as some sort of digital popularity contest?A: My good friend and colleague Liz Ryan, head of the women's power networking group WorldWIT, Women in Technology, has a great answer to this sort of question, an answer that I'm quoting here with permission:I ask people to join LinkedIn, and often they say "I don't want the spam.
The 4 Actions of Awesome Hospitality
These Actions of Awesome Hospitality? will help you manifest the power of approachability through your organizational front porches.AWESOME ACTION #1: Go Beyond the Door My friend, Pastor Bob Farr of the St.
The Foundation of Networking: Its Not Rocket Science
Commandment 1LoveWhen we choose to simply love, our giving and receiving becomes unconditional. We can listen and not be caught up in the vicious cycle of judgment.
Your Front End
While surfing for traffic or browsing your safelist emails, you are sure to have noticed the very large number of networkers promoting similar, if not identical, programs. Empowerism and Profit Rally are everywhere, as are health related and telecom based MLM opportunities.
Social Network Software
My neighbor - a lovely man I've known, and have had social contact with for years - is the COO of one of the world's largest companies. He's read my books, is familiar with my concepts, and is a fan.
|home | site map|