The most successful networkers I know are truly “information hubs.” They are not only on the lookout for business leads for their networking buddies, they pass along valuable bits of information, tips, creative ideas and more as well.
Create “relevancy” with your networking friends. Be on the lookout for creative ideas, tips, etc., that are relevant to their business. Relevance makes people choose you and your company over others. Hear of a good deal? Tell the others in your network of support.
Pass along a Tweet about someone’s business to your followers – along with a link to their Website. Sometimes I do this without telling them, knowing that we are so well connected that they will soon hear about it from someone else. People love good news – it will help keep you on the top of your customers’ minds.
Always offer additional insight when you can. Be well read. Become a repository of the great information. Have something worthwhile to say (that will assist them with their business) and be able to say it well. Good communication is an art and networkers who master the subtle nuances involved when it comes to talking to other networkers can be far more effective than those who don’t. Be on the lookout for what other people need.
Scan the local newspapers and magazines for articles that might have ideas that can solve one of their problems. If you see a great article in a business magazine that effectively addresses a current and/or difficult issue a fellow networker is facing, send them a copy of the article with a brief note with your business card, “Charlie, I thought this might interest you.” If you bump into a Website or Blog that might be of interest, send them the link by e-mail.
Ask lots of questions to discover ways you can assist others. Talking before listening is a no-no. Listen to their “elevator pitch” (I call it a “30-second Connection“) for clues of how you might help. Talk about “their” business, not yours. Discover “their” needs before offering your ideas, suggestions, etc. If they publish an eZINE or e-mail newsletter ask to be on their list. Get on their Twitter list and take a look at their Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn pages. Watch for ways you can help.
Savvy networkers know that if you want to boost loyalty among others in your network you have to become a powerful resource for them. It’s a great way to create attention for you and your business.
My friend, Kristi Lee in the Greater Phoenix area, is a great example of that. She is the Founding Partner & Director of Marketing at Bridging The Gap Consulting – a firm that specializes in cultural sensitivity training, conversational business Chinese, corporate and individual training on how to conduct business in China. She is the winner of the “2011 Positively Powerful Woman Award for Nonprofit Leadership.” She has a successful network marketing business with Send Out Cards and received the prestigious “Freedom Award” voted by the top leaders of Send Out Cards in Arizona for “Exceptional Leadership and Dedication.” Kristi is one of the most enthusiastic and highly proficient networkers I have ever met. She lives, breathes and eats networking and is always ready with creative ideas that will help you market your business. She is the best example of someone who is an “information hub” that I know.
By sharing great ideas, information, tips, etc., you are building a psychological debt and although you do it without expecting anything in return (that way you won’t be disappointed if they don’t reciprocate) it is more likely that they will also begin to look for a way to repay you with ideas, information, tips, etc., or better yet – quality business leads. By doing this the debt is paid.
“Get creative, think outside of the box. Keep asking yourself, what are my customer’s and prospect’s problems, needs, concerns, and challenges that have nothing to do with my products or services?” ~ Tim Connor
Are “you” an information hub or a walking, talking brochure who speaks only of “your” business? Others in your network are making snap judgments about you and the way you present yourself. Being an information hub makes you a major competitor – someone who is ready to share what they know without expecting anything in return.
Becoming a great networker is like everything else. You have to work at it. Become a source of information – it creates credibility and confidence. It moves you to a position of influence. It’s also a terrific marketing strategy and business lead generator for you and your business. Begin today to brand yourself as an “information hub.”
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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