Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Avoid a Common Networking Disconnect

Ivan Misner, Guest Author

At a networking event not too long ago for which 500 people attended, the speaker who was on stage directly before my presentation asked the audience, “How many of you came here hoping to do some business today, maybe even make a sale?” The overwhelming majority of the people in the audience raised their hands. Then he asked, “How many of you are here hoping to buy something today?” Not one person raised a hand.

Business people communicating with each other against white backgroundThis is what I call networking disconnect. I find it ironic that people are so “disconnected” about a process that’s intended to be about connecting people. This kind of disconnect leads to poor results, which in turn leads people to believe that networking doesn’t work. From what I’ve experienced over the past 26 years, along with the results I’ve witnessed with hundreds of thousands of people around the world — networking works just fine.

My advice: Do not confuse direct selling with networking. Of course, there is always someone out there who says, “But, Ivan, I’ve made sales before by attending a networking event.” I’m not saying it doesn’t ever happen, but it occurs about as often as a solar eclipse. You’re crazy if you think the odds are in your favor to “sell” at a networking event.

So why go to a networking meeting? You go because networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Sometimes you go to increase your visibility and to connect with people you have never met. Sometimes you go to establish further credibility with people you know. And sometimes you may go to meet a long-time referral partner and do some business. In any case, the true master networkers know that networking events are about moving through the relationship process and not just about closing deals. Visibility leads to credibility which, with time and effort, leads to profitability.

no-sales-pitchIn order to make your networking efforts work, you need to embrace a “relationship networking” mentality. Here are five things to remember when attending networking events:

1. Don’t go there to sell, go there to connect.
2. Have meaningful conversations with people you meet.
3. Follow up with people you found interesting or who you can help in some way. Don’t follow up to sell them something.
4. Meet these people in a one-to-one setting, learn more about them, and ask them: “how can I help you?”
5. Go for the long-term relationship, not the short sale.

MisnerCopyright © 2014 – Ivan Misner. Called the father of modern networking, Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder of BNI and the senior partner for the Referral Institute. He has written nine books, including his New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion? Busting Networking’s Biggest Myths.

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netHQLarry 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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Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Key to Success? Relationships!

Filed under: Goals,Networking,Relationships — Larry James @ 8:30 am
Tags: , ,

Steve Tobak, Guest Author

If you ask 10 entrepreneurs to tell you the key to business success, you’re likely to get 10 different answers. I’m sure one would say product innovation, and while that’s definitely a significant factor, it’s not the right answer. And, yes, there is a right answer.

The key to business success is winning and keeping customers. And the key to winning and keeping customers is, and has always been, relationships. The world’s greatest business experts – Peter Drucker, Mark McCormack, Regis McKenna and others – have all said the same thing in one way or another.

?????????????????????????????????????Unfortunately, you, my friends, have all been sold a bill of goods. You’ve been told that spending your time building your personal brand, growing your social media network, improving your productivity, identifying and enhancing your strengths, and engaging your employees, among other things, will make you successful. They won’t.

No matter what you do for a living or aspire to become, none of those fads du jour will have a material impact on how things turn out for you or your business. But building real relationships with real people in the real world will. Not convinced? Here’s why relationships are the key to business success:

Your most important asset is your network – not your virtual network, your real one. Every successful executive and entrepreneur will tell you, their most important asset is their network, and they don’t mean social network. They mean people they actually know and work with in real time because they’re the ones that actually get things done. One real relationship in the real world is worth more than 10,000 social media links, likes or followers.

Sales transactions are between two real human beings. Even with ecommerce, most sales transactions are still between two human beings. Think about it. Every significant B2C and B2B transaction involves a buyer and a seller, not to mention all the channel development and pre- and post-sales support. And the best product doesn’t necessarily win. Buyer behavior is mostly subjective and relationships are a big factor. In a service business, they’re the biggest factor, hands down.

When opportunity knocks, it’s always a person knocking … and answering. As much as we like to fantasize about opportunities just falling in our laps, the truth is, that never happens. Of the thousands of career and business opportunities I’ve been involved with over the past 30 years, every single one involved a real relationship. Every job, every piece of advice, every business deal, every vendor relationship – there’s that word – every single one.

So what does all this mean? It means there’s a good chance you’re wasting precious time, even years of peak earning potential, focusing on the wrong things to build your career and grow your business. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Ten years into my engineering management career, I thought I had everything going for me. I was young, I was smart, and I worked hard, but it was all about the job, the product. And you know what? I wasn’t really going anywhere. Until one day, some guy changed my life by talking me into making the transition to sales and marketing.

It took a while to learn the skills that would ultimately make me a senior executive in the high-tech industry and then, a successful management consultant, but I can attribute everything good that happened to me over the next 20 years to that fateful day and the relationships I’ve built since.

Which reminds me of a time, long ago. I was working at home and had just gotten off the phone and looked up to find my wife standing in the doorway. She looked at me in a sort of circumspect way and said, “Aren’t you supposed to be working?”

“I am working,” I replied.

“No you’re not,” she said, “You’re just BS-ing.”

I said, “That’s right. That’s my job.”

Back then, she didn’t get it, but now she does. It’s just like watching grass grow. You can’t see anything happening but one day you wake up to a beautiful lawn. Building relationships and a successful business career is just like that. Call it a leap of faith or delayed gratification if you want. All I know is, it works.

steve-tobakCopyright © 2014 – Steve Tobak. Steve Tobak is a consultant, writer, and former executive of the technology industry. He’s managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based management consulting firm that provides business strategy, executive coaching, and speaking services to CEOs and management teams of small and mid-sized technology companies.

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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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Networking ~ Here’s How

With all the busy demands on our time made by our business, professional and personal lives, it’s easy to assign a lower priority to networking as an activity designed to meet new people. Your time is valuable. You have to assess key reasons as to why you need to be at your networking meetings consistently.

NetMeetingCommitmentWhen you belong to a business networking group it’s important to maintain a level of loyalty to the group. There are very few genuine excuses that I would accept for not being at “every” meeting.

An excuse that often comes up is, “I have an important meeting with a client and cannot attend.” Really? Have you ever considered that you might have a lot to gain by inviting your client or business acquaintance to your networking meeting, introduce them to others in your network and have your meeting with them after the meeting or reschedule for later. Why wouldn’t you want to help your client widen their center of influence and contacts?

The first time I did this I was scheduled to make a presentation to the group and thought this would be a good time for my client to see me in action. He was impressed that I also gave 4 business referrals to four members.

I know. This may not make sense to some. I’ve been networking long before we called it networking and I have had numerous instances when a client wanted to meet on the day of my networking meeting and I have explained that I have a weekly (or monthly) meeting commitment and would like for them to join me for lunch (or breakfast) with my group. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Several potential clients went so far as to join my group. One client was so impressed with my commitment that she came to the meeting and two of the members actually ended up doing business with her. An unexpected result.

“When was the last time you invited a referral source to a networking event? Introducing him to other businesspeople you know gives your source an opportunity to meet others in your target market and may also provide new business opportunities.” ~ Ivan Misner

The clients you invite to come to the meeting with you do not necessarily have to be a good addition to your group. Your intention is not to recruit them into your group – although that could happen – it’s to allow them to see you in action within your group and to let them be an important part of your networking community for an hour or so. There may be no more powerful way to demonstrate your commitment to networking than to invite them to visit your group with you. Every client that I have ever invited to visit one of my networking meetings has thanked me for the invitation and has been impressed that I would think to do it.

“Networking can be your life support. It can propel you to the next level professionally, while simultaneously enhancing different aspects of your personal life.” ~ Amanda Ebokosia

By the way… let’s stop calling business networking groups “leads” groups! I recommend calling them “referral” groups. There is a distinction that networkers must learn. There is a BIG difference between a lead and a referral. It’s very important to know the difference if you want to be a successful networker. Here’s why. Read: “Is It a Lead or a Referral?

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Copyright © 2014 – 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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Saturday, January 18, 2014

You Must Cultivate “Before” the Harvest

Filed under: Networking,Social Capital — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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New networking relationships are for cultivating, not harvesting. There are unwritten rules about how soon you should ask someone in your group for referrals or how long before you actually give a referral to someone. Never ask for a favor or business referral before you built social capital – the value behind your social contacts – to make such a request.

SocialCapitalIt’s important to genuinely have a relationship with someone before you expect “anything” from them or they expect anything from you. Cultivate the relationship. Have a business breakfast or lunch to get to know them better. Do not pitch you or your product. Explore. Find out more about them. Ask lots of questions. What fills up their time when they are not at the office? Who do they know, etc? Do they like what they do?

“Building deep referral relationships is almost completely dependent upon the social capital you have built with someone. Social capital is similar to financial capital in a very important respect. To amass financial capital, you have to invest and grow your assets. You have to have money in the bank before you can make a withdrawal. Relationships are very much the same – referral relationships in particular.” ~ Ivan Misner

Asking for the business too soon is a common networking mistake. This form of “premature solicitation” can kill a relationship before it gets started. Networking is like farming – it’s about cultivating relationships. Relationships are your networking currency.

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Copyright © 2014 – 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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

5 Unwritten Rules of Business Networking!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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The “nuances of networking” still elude many people who are unaware of the unwritten rules. The only thing that has changed in the past two decades is the exponential growth of technology and social media. But old rules still apply to the new mediums as well as face-to-face contacts.

What remains true to this day is that we must acknowledge when we are the recipients of support, referrals, information, and ideas that benefit us. The basics of business networking remain the same: make connections, listen well and follow up.

UnwrittenRulesWhen it’s time to network, do it correctly. Here are a few unwritten rules that may help:

1. “No Selling” at Networking Meetings or Events ~ To me, this is the number one reason why many people who network fail. The truly successful networkers know this. Networking is about meeting people and cultivating close business relationships with them. Networking is not for people who want instant gratification. Networking will teach you patience. Networks are like any good investment. The great ones can have an extremely high ROI (return on investment), but not right away, and often not from the sources that one might expect. To build the kind of relationship that allows both parties to like and trust each other takes time. Attempting to sell at a networking meeting is a definite no-no!

2. Focus on Others ~ Make sure that when you meet someone it’s not all me, me, me! Ask questions about them instead of spilling all the beans about you and your business. Listening to the answers will lead you to the next questions. Questions that do not require a yes or no answer are best. That means you must quiz yourself – prior to meeting someone – about the type of questions you need to ask. Their answers will help you determine if they are someone you would like to include in your network. Before you ask anything of anyone, make it a point to help that person first.

ZIG3. Always Acknowledge Receipt of Referrals ~ Thank you, works well. Dropping a hand-written note of thanks works too. Perhaps the best thank you is to acknowledge the one who gave you a referral in front of your networking friends at a networking meeting.

4. Be Transparent ~ It means you have nothing to hide. Let them see what makes you special – what makes you authentic. It allows others to see who you really are. Reveal, in a nice and acceptable way, important things about yourself and your business. Show them – don’t just tell them. Let your personality shine. It means you share what is appropriate and engaging, share often, and always keep it professional. Be a great example. They need to get to know you – your likes and dislikes. The goal becomes how to be transparent while not being excessively personal. Be seen helping others. Have an open door policy to learn and teach. Always present yourself in an appealing and professional way. Transparency is a fundamental necessity of the most successful networkers.

5. Know when to Shut Up! ~ Give the person you are with your full attention. This ties in with #2 above… “Focus on others.” We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! Resist the urge to be compelled to constantly be talking. Approach your next conversations with others purposely. Exercise some self-awareness. Hear yourself when you talk. Are you pausing to take a breathe so others can say something? The person who talks the most learns the least. In short… when you see them losing interest… zip your lip!

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Copyright © 2014 – 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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Are You a Hard Act to Follow?

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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I’m sure you have heard this expression before. It usually means that someone did something that was fantastic and whoever is up next may not measure up; it means to be so good it is not likely that anyone or anything else that comes after will be as good.

A networker who stands out from the crowd is someone who is comfortable with who they are, has the confidence to be unique and to let their individuality shine. Being a hard act to follow means that you’re not afraid to speak your mind and to avoid following others when to do so results in sameness and conformity.

HardAct2FollowThey have good manners, are polite and treat others in their network with respect. They take action while everyone else stands back waiting for someone else to take the lead. The don’t overdo alcohol at networking events. They often out-think and out-perform their competition. They work consistently to make a great first impression and often project an aura of mystery.

A person who is a hard act to follow may be someone whose appearance is striking in some way, but more often than not, it is about someone who generates admiration and is remembered by others for being someone special and worthy of looking up to. They do things differently. They are on a path of self-education and keep themselves up on the latest networking techniques. They are great at sharing what they have learned with others. It’s about going the extra mile to prove that you are one of a kind in networking skills, talent, and personality!

They give a crap… and make sure everyone in their network knows it. They are great listeners and are always looking for a way to help others. They understand that to stand out, it’s often the little things that make the biggest impact. When they promise something, they always deliver. Most importantly they have unquestioned integrity. They are indeed very special people.

Some networkers don’t seem to get it. They are either introverted or overly aggressive, have very little tact and – to others – know very little about the fine art of business networking. They dress sloppy, they push their business cards off on people who didn’t ask for them, they present themselves is ways that make you wonder how in the world anyone would do business with them.

“The scorched-earth networker burns and pillages for new business. He’s a hunter at business meetings, more interested in bagging the big sale than in building relationships and helping others. He’s constantly dissatisfied with the quantity and quality of the referrals he’s getting, so he moves on. He flits from one networking group to another, doesn’t establish any roots or relationships, networks relentlessly with everyone he meets (often inappropriately), believes that being highly visible is the key to referral success, and expects referrals from others even though he has done nothing that would make anyone else want to help him.

What he doesn’t know is that a serious networker understands that in order to build a mature, healthy, and mutually profitable relationship, he must stay where he is, and nurture it, and devote a lot of time and effort in growing it. The longer you participate in a networking group, the more business you will get.” ~ Ivan Misner

Here is your challenge: Be different. Be unforgettable. Be a hard act to follow!

Update your 30 Second connection. Make it (and you) sparkle! It’s okay to be an attention getter if you do it with finesse.

Do things that help you stand out in your networking group. Giving lots of referrals (not leads) is probably one of the best ways. Being obvious in helping others is another. Introducing others to people that might be in a position to help them is another way. These kinds of unique initiatives are bound to make you a hard act to follow.

The best way to get noticed and stand out in a crowd is to always be the best you can be. Those people are a hard act to follow.

You can be that way too – only if you decide to.

BONUS Articles: 7 Keys to Help You Turn Up Your “Burn!”

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Copyright © 2014 – 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!”

Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
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Monday, January 6, 2014

Networking ~ Not a Quick Fix!

Filed under: Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , ,

Professional networkers understand the concept of delayed gratification! They know that networking is not a quick fix to a slow business trend.

Networking is an organized method of designing links from the people you know, connecting with the people they know, gaining and using an ever expanding base of contacts to exchange information, advice, business referrals and support. Virtually anyone can benefit from networking when they understand that developing a network is time consuming – and I am proof that it’s really worth it.

“But… I just don’t have time to network.”

NOquickFIXFor some who say something like that, I would say, “What you are really saying is, ‘I don’t have time nor am I inclined to take the time to invest in helping other. I’m doing good just to keep my head above water myself!'”

Hmmm. In that case you probably would do better making more sales calls and looking for prospects to sell to somewhere else, not at a networking meeting or event.

Networking and selling are inconsistent, therefore prospecting at a networking meeting or event will only turn off the people you “think” might buy something from you and who might be in a position to help you in the future. Networking and selling don’t mix; like oil on water, networking and selling have important but separate functions – selling is making a sale – networking is about building relationships.

Making connections with people and developing close business relationships is about helping them get what they want which is the first step toward helping you get what you want. Yes, it takes time to develop business relationships and your business will not consistently move forward until you learn to look for the opportunity to assist someone else in their endeavors. I call it delayed gratification. To me that means, having the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward.

Networking will teach you patience. Give your business a break. It can get along without you long enough for you to help someone else. For a business to succeed it needs constant motion and while you’re creating that momentum, take a break, get your mind off yourself and your business and focus on helping someone else’s business. This could be the very distraction your mind needs to fully create what’s next for your business.

Again… networking is no quick fix if you’re not doing well in business. If you need a few quick sales to get back on track, networking is NOT the place where you should focus your time and efforts. Focus instead on prospecting for more business. Networking is NOT the place to prospect. First… get your act together. It’s hard enough to sell yourself when things aren’t working well for you.

Attitude also plays an important part when networking. When attending a networking function, notice the people who are excited about being there. Keep your eye on them because they are the ones who are dedicated to helping others. They enter the room with confidence. They move around the room maintaining their connections and introducing others to people they need to know. They are very aware of their appearance and dress well. They know to stop talking before people stop listening. You may hear them say, “Betty, tell me what I need to know if somebody I’m talking to would be a good connection for you?” They are the ones people like and trust and have earned the right to receive referrals. Referrals rarely are received by people who enter the room in selling mode with dollar signs on their forehead.

So when you get your act together – when you make a major adjustment in your attitude, that’s when networking will begin to work for you. Other people will fall in line to be in your network, but you have to have an attitude that shows that you believe in yourself. In other words, you have to sell them on the idea of believing in you too which is part of the relationship building process. Nothing can move your career further and faster than having a base of people positioned to support you in your goals. Conversely, few things feel better than using your talents to help others achieve their goals. Once you get the hang of networking, you will use your network everyday to solve problems, find employees, get a new job, buyers, and suppliers; and get good advice, moral support and qualified referrals. The possibilities are as endless as the range of human relationships.

Networking involves more than trading business cards. It requires skill and chutzpah. It can open up a world of opportunities for you. It keeps you in touch by connecting you to new people and information. Getting ahead requires access to opportunity, and access comes through “making” the time to have great relationships with others. If you neglect to nurture relationships, you put your career plans in jeopardy.

So… when you think of business networking think of “delayed gratification.” Just don’t allow that thought to distract you from something that can genuinely rock your world.

netHQ

Copyright © 2014 – 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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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Setting Your Networking Stage For Success In 2014

Filed under: Follow Up,Goals,Networking — Larry James @ 7:30 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Thomas Camarda, Guest Author

Everyone makes New Year resolutions and seldom stick to them, but what really is a resolution? According to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary:

Res·o·lu·tion, noun \ˌre-zə-ˈlü-shən\ ~ the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc., the act of resolving something, an answer or solution to something.

FreshStartSo in layman’s terms a resolution is setting a goal and resolving to accomplish it. Now is the time to set your networking goals for 2014 and resolve to making this year your most successful networking year ever.

There are 3 parts to a networking event

1. Preparation
2. At the event
3. After the Event

Here are 12 resolution/goal suggestions:

Preparation.

• Who do you want in your network. ~ Before you venture out into the networking world, think about who you want to meet and what industry you want to build your network in. With so many different events to attend you can easily stray to an event that may not fit your networking profile. It is important to be choosey and pick the ones that fit your networking needs and that align to your goals. Identify your highest-value networking events and attend them , this will allow you to focus more on what matters most to you.

Search Your Top Online Connections. ~ Do some research on the people you are connected to online, or the people you want to be connected to. See what events they are going to, even ask them what events they like best. Networkers always like to help other networkers succeed. They will be happy to offer their advice.

• Dress for Success. First impressions are the most lasting, make them count. At a networking event , dress the way you want to be seen in the business world, and most importantly how you want to be treated. Also pay attention to where the event is being held. If you are going to an event at a ballpark you wouldn’t wear a suit and tie, but if you are going to restaurant or hotel event you may consider wearing business attire. No matter where the event, dress to impress.

• Business Cards. All to often, I attend events where people do not bring, or say they do not carry business cards. If you drive a car, you must carry your license, and if you are doing business you must have a card. I am not concerned with people getting in touch with me through my business card. I view a business card as a simple tool to allow me to ask for other’s business cards. I know that they may not contact me, but I will certainty contact them. Be sure to bring plenty of cards to every event you attend. Always keep extra in your bag or car, so you do not run out. Also choose a designated place on you that you keep only your cards, and do not mix them with the cards you take. This will stop you from accidentally giving someone the wrong card.

At The Event.

• Arrive early and stay late. ~ Get to the event about 15 minutes before it begins. This will give you a chance to meet the organizers and key people from that particular network, ask the organizer to introduce you to the key influencer at the event, get some key tips on who you should meet, and ask some questions. Usually, the event is scheduled to end at a certain time, key members of the network will stay and mingle with each other, this is where the magic happens and relationships are built.

• Don’t stay with people you know. The whole purpose to networking is to create new relationships. That’s not to say you don’t want to briefly say hi and acknowledge them and move on, keeping in mind that they are there for you to introduce to others, what I like to call secondary networking.

• Find the center of influence. ~ Who, in the room is the most connected person? This is a question you should ask everyone you network with at the event. Once you know the answer, introduce yourself to him/her and congratulate them on their accomplishment. Getting to know the center of influence will help you tremendously in your networking efforts. They may never do business with you, but they will know people that will, and when you build your relationship with him/her, they will be happy to help you.

• Don’t Answer Questions, Question Answers? ~ All to often people like to introduce themselves, and then proceed to give their life story. Have you ever noticed speaking to someone and they look at their watch or over your shoulder as your speaking? That’s because you are speaking at them, not to them. Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves, and their favorite sound is the sound of their own voice. When meeting someone at a networking event ask questions about them, ask who they most want to meet at the event, about their business, their family, where they like to vacation, and most importantly, do not let your eyes stray from theirs, and listen attentively.

arrows missing targetYou might ask yourself, “So how do I know what to ask?” That’s simple, Question Their Answers. Get to know who they are and the next thing you know they respond with, what I like to call, “Networker’s Gold;” So what is it that you do? Now they start asking about you and they truly want to hear what you have to say.

• Set a time to call. ~ Because you are at a networking event, the initial contact should take no longer that 8-10 minutes at most. After all, you are there to meet new people and so are they. At that time, even if you haven’t had the chance to talk about yourself, ask if it would be of if you gave them a call. When they say yes, and they always do, take out your smartphone right in front of them and ask, Is tomorrow or the next day better? Morning or Afternoon? If Morning…Great 9:30 or 11:15, Afternoon…2:15 or 3:45.

Always set the call at 15 minute intervals, and never on the hour. Doing this infront of them will let them know you are serious about your business. On this call is where you use the information on the back of their card that you wrote down. Your goal here is to make an appointment for a breakfast or lunch meeting. Everyone is always busy, but everyone has to eat.

• Take notes. ~ This is a very simple task and will be a huge asset to your follow up. When going to a networking event, you are not going to remember every conversation. After each conversation, and when you walk away, on the back of their business card jot down the 3 things most important to them. Example: set of 3 yr old twins, going to Bermuda in March, adding another location this quarter. People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. This information will be used in the follow up and will show how carefully you listened to them.

After The Event

• Follow Up. This sounds like the easiest part, but all to often missed by many. Be sure to call them exactly at the time you set up. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Here your physical first impression was at the event, this is where you are making your business first impression. This will set the stage as to if your new contact will want to do business with you. Tell them you will call them at a certain time and don’t, will lose all credibility you established with them at the event.

• Strengthen Your Bond With Social Media. ~ Connect on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Not only connect, but also suggest connections to them from your network. Share articles of common interest, invite them to other networking events you are going to. This is a tool that will explode your networking efforts if used properly.

“Networking is using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals… expecting nothing in return!” ~ Larry James

BONUS Articles: What is Networking?
Keeping Score is for Sports, Not Networking!
What to Talk About at the Follow-Up
Your Networking Fortune is in Your Follow-Up!

Copyright © 2014 – Thomas Camarda. Reprinted with permission. This article is adapted from “Becoming The Ultimate Networker” at http://BecomingTheUltimateNetworker.wordpress.com Thomas Camarda is a professional networker and speaks at networking events and seminars nationally. Thomas offers networking coaching, both one-on-one or for your Networking Group. Invite Thomas Camarda to speak to your group. Contact Thomas Camarda @ Thomas@TheUltimateNetworkingEvent.com – 732-744-4719.

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netHQLarry 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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NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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