I’ve met so many people over the years that when they are at major network events seem to be scrambling for business instead of taking the time necessary to build relationships that could be helpful in the future. Most of them never think about networking until they begin to feel the pressure put on them by a manager to make more sales or to do better.
BEST ADVICE: Never wait until you are desperate for business before you begin networking. The odds against instant gratification are slim when you first begin.
“Your Network is not something you can start putting together when the need arises. When you need it, you need it now. You should begin developing relationships now with the people whose help you will need in the future.” ~ Ivan Misner
Even if you have an aversion to networking – as many people do – it’s imperative to start forging deliberate connections with new business people before you feel the need. If it feels awkward – get over it. If you are shy or lacking in self-confidence – it will take courage to begin.
Many people begin to proactively network when they need something; a new job, or new clients. Sorry! That’s too late. The keys to any networker’s continued success are strong relationships built on a foundation of trust. These relationships and trust don’t magically appear on a first or second meeting; they take time to establish.
You don’t have to join a networking group to network. Virtually everyone is a potential contact. Start with the people you already know; friends, acquaintances, family, local business people, relatives, your banker, doctor, dentist, neighbors, past work colleagues, fellow students, your attorney, minister, insurance agent, etc.
So… for these reasons it is important to build and invest time in your network at least six months before you need to call upon it. Make your time count. Then, Follow up. Follow up. Follow up!
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
Smart people dig the well before they are thirsty. Effective networking is the most efficient way to generate the results you require for your business and career success.
Many people is the networking groups I speak to want to know how I manage to generate about 85 per cent of my business via my networking activity. They intend to replicate my actions for their own success. That’s a great idea until they learn about the time I have invested to be able to do that. Over the years – since about 1987 – I have built a valuable network of support of hundreds of people who trust me, have become my friends and continue to feed me quality referrals. I do the same for them. Do you believe in reciprocity?
It’s important to systematically pick and choose which network group you want to belong to as well as the major networking events you choose to attend – keeping in mind that time is money. Figure out who should be in your network. Ask yourself, “What kind of person can I best help,” and “Who is in a good position to provide me with the kind of referrals I need?” You really don’t need everyone to be a part of your network, just the people who are in a position to assist you when and if you need assistance. Smart people spend about an hour a week maintaining their networks, because greater effort yields greater results.
Stop and think. If you needed a favor right this second from your circle of networking pals, how many of them would actually stop what they were doing and take a moment to help, promote, or find out whatever it is that you needed? Those are the kind of people you want in your network.
You must learn to look beyond all the handshakes, head nods, smiles and positive body language. Strong relationships are the ones that teach you to give without taking. If you don’t genuinely care about helping people, you might as well not network at all.
“Some of the most successful sales people in the world have taken years to develop some of their most powerful relationships. And they didn’t do it by wining and dining them; they did it by caring. With all the “noise” of networking aside, it truly comes down to showing someone that you are; that they matter; and that you want to build a genuine relationship with them that will add value to both of your lives.” ~ Derrick Fung
When should you start networking? Long before the need presents itself!
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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