There are many ways to contribute to the people in your network. The goal of networking should be to help other people – to provide value to them – not asking them to help you. It is important to understand their wants and needs. Never ask for favors, for promotion, for advice, or even to meet up for lunch or coffee until you have established a meaningful relationship.
Everyone can use help. There are many challenges that we all face as we work to build a successful business. When having a conversation with someone from your networking group, ask open-ended questions instead of questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” A great question is, “Who is your ideal customer and how will I know if someone fits the bill?” This will help to get to the things you can help them with quicker and keeps the conversation flowing. It also demonstrates a genuine interest in them.
Here are the 5 ways that make the most sense:
1. Find out the biggest challenge in their business and discuss ways you might be able to assist them
2. Offer to introduce them to people you have met at the networking event
3. Offer to refer them to people outside of your network who may be able to assist them
4. Offer to send them an article or link to a Website or Blog post that might be of interest
5. Find out what is important to those in your network and do everything you can to fulfill that need
So many people who network are mostly interested in doing their best to get you interested in what they do. This is a major distraction. It usually turns people off and can alienate the people you meet in a hurry.
The key to building great relationships is to give more than you take. Master networkers look for ways to benefit members of their network. Always network with the intention of helping other people, not yourself. Helping others positions yourself as a powerful resource. The people you help will appreciate your efforts and hopefully return the favor.
The best way to participate in networking is to contribute!
BONUS Article: “How Can I Help You?”
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. 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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