In order to be a master networker, you must always maintain a positive attitude no matter what. To me that’s the easy part, for others, not so much. Negativity runs rampant among many networkers who are not doing so well, who are more interested in making a sale than building a relationship that will eventually deliver their biggest return on investment.
Some of the signs that tip us off is the tendency to become more aggressive and persistent. The hard sell is dead. They chase away prospects using that approach. It doesn’t work when networking. You’ll be much more likely to make the sale once you’ve established a relationship. They’re not there to make friends. And they’re certainly not interested in developing mutually valuable relationships.
Some of these people just like to complain about everything. They quibble about not getting any referrals and often their quibbling has a profound effect on others. They either need to learn more about what works when networking or just quit. Not changing their attitude will keep them stuck. I think it’s time for a major shift in thinking as it relates to business networking.
Let’s all focus on shifting from aggressive and persistent to more technical and smart.
I’m sure you may have noticed that the more aggressive and persistent you become, the more frustrated you get. Being enthusiastic and motivated are part of the technical and smart way of networking. I suppose being technical is becoming familiar with networking ideas that really work and working smart is putting your own spin on how you network. Technical is not about iPhones, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It’s about using networking tools that work and also about enjoying being someone who helps people. Someone who enjoys being a supportive friend. To me that is one of the top prerequisites. Others are to be self-less and generous. Enthusiasm is important too. Be interested in people first… business come second!
“Master networkers don’t let any opportunity to work their networks pass them by. They manage their contacts with contact management software, organize their e-mail address files and carry their referral partners’ business cards as well as their own. They set up appointments to get better acquainted with new contacts so that they can learn as much about them as possible so that they can truly become part of each other’s networks.” ~ Ivan Misner
That’s another thing. The people who are aggressive and persistent about their aggressiveness generally “only” network at the networking meeting or at specific networking events. Where is that written? To be a master networker you must be networking and thinking networking all the time! Always being on the lookout for people you can help. To me networking is a way of life and a extremely good way to do business.
The idea Ivan Misner wrote about above about carrying their referral partners’ business cards as well as their own wherever they go is a hot idea! I carry my referral list with me when on appointments. The closing conversation always gets around to me asking them if they need any help in any areas of their business. When they need a DJ for a wedding, I can give them several names with complete contact info. I also want to know if they would like a personal introduction. If so, I will call one of the DJs and tell them I have someone interested in their business and turn the phone over to them. You will become known as a powerful resource for others.
Networking does not come natural to most people. Some have a knack for it and others stumble until they learn better ways than being aggressive and overly persistent. A good way to get started is by learning from your mistakes. It’s important to keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help each other. Networking is not for those who are caught up in the “if I don’t make this sale, I’ll be up the creek!” mode.
If you’re going to networking events focusing on getting clients, you’ll miss out on what you could find: Connections! Focus on getting to know people instead. They may not buy your product today, or ever, but in time they may send numerous people your way who could – but not unless you develop a relationship with them. You’re find networking opportunities in places like elevators, busses, supermarkets or parks not just networking meetings or events. Networking is a fundamental tool to the success of any business provided you use the right tools effectively.
There is a time and a place for networking – it’s called “anytime, and any place!” Just bring your best attitude with you!
Copyright © 2015 – 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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