Kathy McAfee, Guest Author
Getting comfortable talking to strangers is just one of the many challenges that an effective business networker must overcome.
Networking with strangers (i.e., business people you haven’t yet met) allows you to gain access to new information pools and to expand your sphere of influence.
It is easier to network with strangers in face to face situations, where proximity and small talk are to your advantage. But when you have to pick up the phone and call a stranger that you hope to do business with, well then, that takes a new level of courage.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to think about when networking with “strangers” over the telephone:
Do get a warm introduction to this person. Find someone in your active network who will facilitate a warm introduction for you to this person.
Don’t call this person before you’ve done your research and have thought through your purpose for connecting with them. Why do you want to connect with them and what you will be asking them for?
Do get into a positive state of mind and body when you make the call. Practice a physiology of excellence such as standing up to make the call.
Don’t allow yourself to get distracted with other things such as incoming emails, driving, kids, dogs, etc.
Do introduce yourself immediately. Reference the mutual connection that you both know.
Don’t confuse the person you are calling and have them wonder if you are a telemarketer trying to barge in on their time
Do get to the point quickly. If you get their voice mail, leave a crisp and compelling message with your contact details. Give them motivation to call you back.
Don’t waste their time with idle chatter or “shooting the breeze” conversation. Don’t leave long winded voice mails messages that get cut off.
Do thank them for their time. Ask how you can help them. Ask for their permission to stay in touch (e.g., send them a Linkedin® invitation)
Don’t be a taker or user. The true spirit of networking is helping others and asking for help. You must be good at both sides of the equation.
Do follow-up with them. Use different communication channels to stay in touch over time.
Don’t connect and run, never to be heard from again. Don’t go “missing in action”
Do make that call. Connect with new people and build more mutually beneficial relationships to your professional network each and every week!
Don’t be a chicken or a reluctant networker. Don’t default to a more passive communication channel like email, which might go unnoticed.
Goal for this week: Call two strangers and network with them over the telephone by the end of this week. Your goal is make two new business connection and invite them into your professional network.
Copyright 2010 – Kathy McAfee – Reprinted with permission. Kathy McAfee is known as America’s Marketing Motivator and is author of the book, “Networking Ahead for Business” (Kiwi Publishing 2010). In her role as Executive Presentation Coach and Professional Speaker, Kathy helps her clients to become the recognized leaders in their fields by mastering the art of high engagement presentations and more effective networking and connecting. To learn more about Kathy and to receive free weekly networking tips, visit www.NetworkingAhead.com
Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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