7 Step Plan To Get Going With Networking
Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, feel like you have the gift of gab or just don't know how to make small talk, networking know-how is very important for your business success. There is a notion in business that I believe most of us subscribe to that says "all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those they know, like and trust." And the key to this is obviously being able to develop relationships.
Think of networking as the cultivation of mutually beneficial, win-win relationships. In order to be win-win, there must be GIVE and take (notice the emphasis on give). Networking shouldn't be viewed as "events" where you go to sell your business. When effective networking is taking place, the parties involved actively share ideas, information, resources, etc.
Ok, so you know that you should be networking because it is one of the most cost-effective lead generation activities when used wisely, appropriately and professionally. But, maybe that seems easier said than done. Here's a seven step plan to really get going with networking for your business.
1. Check out several groups to find the best chemistry and perceived value. Most groups will allow you to come and visit at least a couple of times before you have to join. Go and ask around to find out why others have joined and what value they get out of belonging.
Resist the urge to just go join the Chamber of Commerce simply because everyone tells you that's what you need to do. If that's not where your target group can be found, then you might just be wasting a considerable amount of time (and money).
I'm not telling you not to join the Chamber. Just be clear about what you'd like to get out of this or any other group. If it's to find prospective clients or referral sources, then you need to be networking where those resources can be found.
2. When you find a group or two, join and go to all the meetings you can. Don't go just once or twice expecting things to happen and then if they don't quit. Building mutually beneficial, win-win relationships will take some time.
The contacts you make need to constantly see your face and hear your message. Continual contact with others over time will open up opportunities for you to go deeper and learn more about each others thoughts, ideas and capabilities in regards to your respective businesses.
Know, like, and trust generally only happens over time. Being regular and persistent will pay off.
3. Get involved - be visible. Do as much as you can to make yourself more visible within the organization. Volunteer to help with meetings, be on committees, or become a leader or board member.
Being involved does a couple of things for you and your business. First, you'll get more opportunities to establish connections and get to know some of the contacts you've made even better. Secondly, the higher the visibility you have in the group, the less you'll have to work to make new connections. Instead, as new people come into the group, they will likely seek you out because they view you as a leader within the organization.
4. Keep your circles of contacts informed. Don't just assume that running in to someone once a month (or even once a week) will cause them to start doing business with you or sending it your way. You need to let them know what's going on when you're not at that particular group in order to inform and educate them.
Send them invitations to your events or open houses. Send them email or letters to share big news or success stories, especially anything of relevance to them or those in their networks of contacts. If you believe that you have valuable ideas, information and resources to share with others, then doesn't this just make sense?
5. Work at GIVING referrals and sharing valuable information. That's right, you need to be willing to GIVE before you get. That means you need to get to know other members and what makes a good prospect for them. What kinds of information might you have access to that could be useful to them?
You may initially think you don't have much of value to share with others (besides your business and what you provide). Part of the key to getting good at giving is to not make assumptions. For example, don't assume that some basic resource (e.g., a web site) that you're aware of is familiar to someone you might be talking to just because they are the "expert" in that field. Be willing to ask if they know about the resource and ready to share if they don't.
Want to get better at actually giving referrals? Here's a simple question to ask someone you're connecting with. "How am I going to know when I meet a really good prospect for you?"
Just the fact that you are willing to explore giving will elevate your know, like and trust factor.
6. Focus on Quality, not Quantity, Quantity, Quantity. It's not necessarily about the number of connections you make, but about the quality of the ones you do make. Are they mutually beneficial, win-win relationships?
Quality connections will be identifiable because all involved parties will be actively sharing ideas, information, and resources. Yes, it is true that you need to spend some time and effort getting to know the other person(s) and what's important to them. But, you also need to be clear and actively thinking about what information or resources you want and need.
Staying in touch with and following up with a smaller number of quality relationships will generally be much more productive than trying to follow up with a larger number of superficial contacts.
7. Be persistent, but be patient. The goal of a networking event shouldn't necessarily be to come away with prospects every time you go out, but to come away with great connections. Networking usually takes time to get the relationships developed and nurtured.
Don't approach networking as a scary proposition or a necessary evil for being in business. Take the pressure off yourself and really focus on how you might be able to connect with someone you meet. Focus on them first and look for ways to be useful to them. As you become known as a connector you'll eventually be ready to reap what you sow.
(c) - Kevin Dervin, KPD Marketing
About the Author:
Kevin Dervin is focused on helping small businesses that are ready to grow, but struggle with how to consistently attract more clients. Visit http://www.proven-small-business-marketing-solutions.com for more great marketing information you can put to use in growing your business today.
Find Kevin's Kansas City based KPD Marketing practice at http://www.ABCDgrowth.com and subscribe to his free ezine called ABCD Grow.
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news
Air Force Nurse Turned Travel Agent Takes Networking to the Million-Dollar Level - Travel Market Report
Social Network Software
My neighbor - a lovely man I've known, and have had social contact with for years - is the COO of one of the world's largest companies. He's read my books, is familiar with my concepts, and is a fan.
34 Power Affirmations for Networking with the Affluent
Here are 34 affirmations I have created after studying the book "Networking with the Affluent" by Dr. Thomas Stanley.
A New LinkedIn Discussion Forum for High Power Dealmakers
For those of you interested in international business transactions or the business networking organization, LinkedIn, a new Yahoo groups discussion forum has been created. Several Yahoo discussion groups already exist on the uses and preferences concerning LinkedIn, such as the Yahoo Group forum called MyLinkedin Power Forum (MLPF), but the messages on that forum were biased.
How to Organize a Successful Bad Sweater Party
"Hey Scott, would you like to go to a Bad Sweater Party this weekend?""A what party?!" I said."A Bad Sweater Party.
Make Money on the Internet - The Lifestyle Advantages of Professional Marketers
Some of the most successful businesses in existence today started in a box room, bedroom or garage. It isn't how you start out to make money at home that is important.
Increasing the ROI on Your Networking
Networking requires an investment of time, money and effort. Here are four ways to be sure your return on that investment is worthwhile.
How to Find Participants for a Trial Run
Why is a network meeting the best place to get participants for a trial run?We talked about taking a booth at a networking event, or at least sharing a booth. The booth has to be more than informational in order to help you move your product or service.
Networking and Trade Shows
The most important reasons people exhibit at a trade show? To see what's new and to gather leads - information for future business.So, how do you that besides standing in the booth and walking the aisles? The word is "Networking".
What Has Networking Got To Do With Joint Ventures?
What has networking got to do with joint ventures? "PLENTY" is the short answer to this question.Networking is a very important element of joint venture marketing because the more you network, the more you meet potential partners and build relationships that lead to profitable joint ventures.
Why Cant I Remember Your Name?
You're terrible with names. You forget someone's name within ten seconds of their introduction, and it embarrasses you.
Networking Group Loyalty Requirements
How can you find out the group loyalty requirements before you venture forth?Many groups have loyalty requirements in order to make sure that the leads you generate are exclusively for the members of the group. It is important that you make sure you know everything about the group before you join, and loyalty requirements can put a damper on other activities you have planned.
Powerful Networking: Focus on Building Connections, Not Closing Sales
You can find numerous references in the business literature about the importance of a company's mission. These sources emphasize that the mission is not to make a profit; that a profit is the outcome of and reward for fulfilling the mission.
The Power of Word of Mouth
Most of us remember the commercial that said, "I told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and?", well you get the picture. This commercial, which represented Breck Hair Shampoo, ran so many times that even I remember who the commercial represented.
Online Business Networking: How Personal is Too Personal?
Online networking has opened up some fantastic business opportunities for solo entrepreneurs. You can open an account with one of the major online business networks such as Ryze, and get to know industrious and inspiring minds from all corners of the world.
Marketing Essentials: The 15 Second Elevator Speech
You're at a conference. Someone steps in the elevator, notices your name tag and asks, "So what do you guys do?" Quick -- what's your answer? You've got about 15 seconds before the doors open.
Volunteering for a Networking Group
When is it appropriate to volunteer to take a position in the group?Have you heard the saying that "the fastest way to get anything done is to ask a busy person"? It is very true. What it actually boils down to is the fact that busy people are often very well organized and have the ability to delegate some of their tasks.
10 Top Tips for Successful Networking
1. Recognise the importance of networkingAsk any successful business person and they will tell you that above all else networking skills are absolutely vital to grow your business.
Success Sentences to Help Combat Conversational Crappiness
Essential to your success as an effective, engaging communicator is learning not only what to say, but what not to say. The following guide examines several sentences, phrases and questions that stand in your way of connecting and communicating with confidence.
Give People Something to Talk About!
My husband and I tried an experiment one night. We were invited to a dinner party with three other couples we didn't know.
Five Stumbling Blocks To Successful Networking And How To Overcome Them
The ability to connect with people is essential to success in any business. Professional networking events present opportunities to interact with others on a personal level and to develop profitable relationships.
|home | site map|