Isn’t that what networking is all about? We are on a continual quest to discover the places we fit into and the people we’ll reach out to. The intent is to turn your connections into trusted relationships. You grow your network connections one new friend at a time.
If things aren’t working out quite like you think they should, perhaps it’s time to push the reset button!
Every day and every moment in life is an opportunity to network. People cross our paths for a reason. Networking just isn’t for networking events. Opportunity is everywhere. You have to be ready for it when it occurs. Simply start conversations with people. Engage with other people. The essence of networking is to reach out and connect with people. A few good connections can assist you in piecing together the networking puzzle.
If you desire networking success you must always seek relevant networking groups and connections. A group that is close to your office may not be the most relevant group. Sometimes we need to drive a few miles further to get to the group that can be the most beneficial for us. The more relevant your targeting of groups and contacts, then more useful your meetings and referrals will be.
A valuable business network is a connected system of people within which referrals and opportunities can be passed through several connections, or circulated to all who are connected. Choose carefully. In most networks you will find a few close and “trusted” connections. Focus on the ones you like and trust. Reputations are built according to the connections you hang out with. It is wise to focus your efforts on groups and connections of integrity.
Obtaining network connections for your business doesn’t have to be a difficult thing to do. When you network you are building a community of people who – over time – become your network of support. That’s why it is important to develop your own strategy for making connections. I’ve been successful in becoming a “solution finder” to my networking friends. They have come to know me as someone who is well connected and who they call when they need to make a connection with a plumber, a photographer, etc. I do my best to connect their needs or goals with the resources I have in my network.
When I make a new connection I never move the conversation to me. You would be surprised at the kind of responses you will receive when you ask, “What do you like best about what you do?” It helps them understand that I think they matter. This question creates much better conversation than, “What do you do?” I focus completely on them and by showing a genuine interest in what they do, what they need, who they need to meet, etc., I build a relationship faster than if I immediately began to promote what I do. At the same time I leave a lasting impression. Eventually they usually begin to ask about what I do and “POW” we’ve made a connection.
Don’t forget their name. Say it several times during the conversation. People like the sound of their own name, so by acknowledging that you know their name is often a very good way to end a conversation, “Very nice to meet you Barbara”.
It’s important to connect with the people you meet as quickly as possible after the meeting, so that they remember you. If you don’t follow up, ask yourself, “Why not?” Not following up can be the death of a salesperson.
When networking with professionals, you have to be persistent and you must be patient. It takes time to build long-lasting connections, but with much effort, your hard work will always pay off.
When diligently building connections that serves others as well as yourself, your ability to serve others quickly becomes part of your personal brand. Remember: Not everyone wants to have a chat with you and not everyone wants to network. You cannot be all things to all people. Let’s face it, some connections don’t “click.” If that happens to you, silently shout, “NEXT” (to yourself, of course) and move on to someone else.
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! 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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