Three steps to power networking…
1. Reach out ~ Be active, not passive and certainly never agressive. NEVER use any schmoozy sales pitches. You can reap abundance from your connections if you first reach out to them. Successful networkers are passionate about helping others. It’s time to reach out and connect to others who share your love of networking. Stand up and stand out. Remember, networking is about developing close business relationships – someone has to make the first move. Let it be you!
Take the initiative. I met one of my best clients in an elevator. You just have to muster up the courage to connect… start a conversation! Communicate. Establishing rapport is really how to get connected. This is not about getting you to bombard people with business cards, shake a lot of hands, or any of that “elevator speech” stuff. I prefer calling it a branding statement or 30-second connection. It’s important, however this is not the time for that.
If you really want to succeed at networking you have a responsibility to make great connections to others. Be a connector. Develop a communication strategy. Invent some of your own ways to begin a dialogue with people. Clue: People love to talk about themselves. Listen more than you talk! I find that asking them a question that cannot be answered “yes” or “no” works well.
“Ask questions that are deeper than, “What do you do?” When possible, begin conversations with questions about someone personally, not necessarily their profession. Get to know them and attempt to find commonalities. They will tend to remember those conversations best.” ~ Darrah Brustein
Cultivate the contacts you already have and invest in those relationships first is a great idea. Never forget to reconnect too. You never know when you’ll need someone to help connect you – not always professionally. I called someone recently for a connection to a plumber.
3. Engage ~ Engage in discussions with other networkers. You don’t always have to talk about business. Attract new networkers by consistently delivering awesome business informations, ideas and suggestions about how to work together for the benefit of both. Be somebody who tirelessly answers questions, help solve problems, moderate and generally point other networkers in the right direction. Be yourself, and let your natural love of what you do in business shine through.
Give first, without an expectation of getting anything in return. Networkers will be curious about your brand – they will seek your feedback and they will want to know more about you and what makes your business work. Engaging increases your credibility. It builds trust. The conversion of networkers to advocates is really the reward for consistently delivering awesome, listening attentively, and engaging them in meaningful ways. These relationships require nurturing. When you take that time, though, the benefits to your business can be both tangible and impressive.
There is a fine line between persistence and stalking. It’s important to be consist but never a pest. Send them a handwritten note after you first meet. If they are someone you think you can help or help you, send them something interesting and of value (never an advertisement) every month or quarter. Use a combination of direct contacts (the phone) with indirect contacts (e-mail or mail). Another indirect contact such as a birthday or anniversary card, a note in the mail with a newspaper clipping they might be interested in, or an e-mail with a newsworthy article about their industry. This contact is designed to strengthen your personal relationship, and help you build rapport.
Copyright © 2013 – 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 Networking 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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