Networking is about sharing what you know about networking with other networkers. Here are 14 tips from 14 of the most successful networkers I know.
“You can abuse the members of your network only once – after that you may find that they make themselves unavailable to you. Share your information gladly, without always questioning, ‘And now, what’s in it for me?’ If you give of yourself only because you expect something in return, you leave yourself open for disappointment and can cause ill will between you and other members of your network.” ~ Anne Boe
“A distinguishing characteristic of self-made millionaires is that they network everywhere. Most important, they do it all the time – at business conferences, at the health club, on the golf course or with the person sitting next to them on a plane. This fact alone should motivate you to place yourself in situations where you can meet new people.” ~ Ivan Misner
“The most successful networkers (think of those you’ve met) are good at making other people feel special. Look people in the eye, repeat their name, listen to what they have to say, and suggest topics that are easy to discuss. Be a conversationalist, not a talker.” ~ Jacqueline Whitmore
“Anything… I repeat, ‘anything’ that propels you forward like networking can requires an in depth study of how to do it correctly! To master the art of delayed gratification is a prerequisite for effective business networking. You must also be dedicated to doing whatever it takes to make networking work and to “helping others.” If you are only in it for yourself, you are doomed to fail!” ~ Larry James
“Ask questions. Specifically, “feel-good” questions. These are questions designed to put your conversation partner at ease, and begin the rapport-building process. These are not intrusive, invasive, or in anyway resembling those of the stereotypical salesperson. Feel-good questions are simply questions that make your new prospect/potential referral-source feel good; about themselves, about the conversation, and about you. Vital, because “all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” Asking feel-good questions is the first step to accomplishing that goal.” ~ Bob Burg
“Never be afraid to ask others in your network of support to help you reach others who can benefit from the services you provide. With a little encouragement individuals will help you spread the word to others throughout the network community. Does your community really know about the value and benefit of your services? If not, they need to and it is up to you to get the word out. You can initiate a word-of-mouth grapevine that creates positive visibility and exposure. Creating this type of visibility is critical – it is the way that the people who want and need what you have can find you.” ~ Donna Fisher
“Networking is an age-old process of exchanging leads, referrals, tips and recommendations; it’s mutual support alliances. Whenever someone recommends a restaurant, a travel agent or a book, that’s networking. Networking isn’t new and it isn’t some miraculous potion that you can gulp down at night before bed that will cure whatever ails you by the next morning. Undeniably, networking is a valuable tool. Reports claim that over 80 percent of all jobs are obtained through networking. Clearly, networking can boost sales and increase profits. It can help you find a wonderful place to live, a great caterer and an endless stream of supportive services that will lighten your load. However, these benefits are little more than byproducts that emanate from something substantially larger and vastly more important.” Rick Frishman
Caution: Don’t build a network that looks just like you!The power is in diversity, so diversify – starting with age. When you’re just starting out, the older members of your network are likely to be in much better position to give you a leg up than your peers. When you get to be a geezer, you need the younger members to give you a sense of what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out.’ The same goes for the benefits you’ll receive by adding different gender/religion/education/race/income level interests to your network. If everyone in your network is the same as you… it isn’t a network, it’s an anthill.” ~ Harvey Mackay
“You’ve had 1,000 of the finest, most eye-catching business cards printed. Keep them in your pocket, purse, briefcase, and wallet, on your desk, and at the reception area of your office. Leave some in your car. Always have them on hand so you can introduce yourself to new people when the moment is right. They should be a necessary part of your routine before you leaving home every day. When checking for your wallet and keys, check for a stack of business cards too. Keep replenishing your supply.” ~ GreatFX Business Cards
“Let’s face it. There will be customers you cannot help because their needs don’t fall within the scope of the services you provide. It’s a given. There will also be customers you don’t want to work with (which is why the initial consultation is so important). Regardless of why you won’t be working together, provide a reference to someone else who might be able to help if you can. This simple gesture continues to position you in a place of value.” Lisa Manyon
“The best way to motivate yourself to follow up on those contacts you’ve made is to consider why you need to make that call. We are all charged with a business development remit these days. It doesn’t do your career or your pay packet any harm at all to win more business for the firm. The follow-up call keeps you in touch with possible future clients ‘outside the transaction’, which is vital to build the trust that will lead them to buy you and your services. Although they may not need you now, when they do, you want to be in pole position. Remember also that you are in a brutally competitive market, and if you do not make the call, other professionals will. Also you must know that circumstances change in business. People retire, die, move up or move on. Budgets and strategies change. You must keep yourself ‘front of mind’ to be considered when that change happens.” ~ Rob Brown
“Your handshake is just one of the ways you can build a positive first impression. It’s interesting to note that a study by the Incomm Center for Trade Show Research has found that if you shake hands with people, they are two times more likely to remember you than if you didn’t shake hands. Psychologists have found that if you take the initiative and move forward to meet and greet a person, their impression of you will be more favorable than if you waited for them to make the initiative.” ~ Heather Townsend
“Each successful referral you receive, where you have kept them in the loop, will further build the trust your Champions have in you. Make sure they enjoy a positive experience when they refer you and they will do so again. You’ll see a move from unqualified to qualified referrals and to more and more business from the same source. When you first meet people and the relationship starts to grow they may test you out personally or with small referrals at first. As their confidence grows then the quality of the referrals may get better or the flow gets steadier. As long as you do the right things, there will always be a stronger chance of referrals in the second year of a relationship than the first. If you want people to refer business to you, you have to get to know them first and win their trust.” ~ Andy Lopata
“Although we live in a 24/7, online, digital world, the ability to interact and connect “real time” and in-person is increasingly important. Why? Because being able to do so has become increasingly rare. As more people circumvent face–to–face opportunities, those who capitalize on them will stand out from the crowd in both their professional and social lives. You can be one of them!” ~ Susan RoAne
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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