Archive for Networking Systems

It’s not “Net-Sit” or “Net-Eat” – It’s “Network”. Successful networking is about learning how to ‘work’ the networking process – not just letting it happen.

In many ways, success at networking is the perfect example of the uncommon application of common knowledge. Most people understand that networking is important to their success – they just lack the step by step process to get the results they want.  Almost no one really incorporates a comprehensive methodology that will build a business through networking. Thus, the need to network is “common knowledge”, and the development of the methodology required to be successful at it is the “uncommon application”

We have found that businesspeople tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to their views on networking. For many, the current mindset is that networking is a passive business strategy, not a proactive marketing tool. This attitude results in a scattered, often ineffective networking approach that consequently wastes the business owners time and money. Not surprisingly, when people feel they’ve been wasting their time and money on something, they’re understandably not going to continue.

On the other hand, some proprietors do consider networking a proactive marketing tool for their business. How can you tell? They make it a significant part of their marketing and business plans. They have networking goals. They may even have a budget line item for networking. Most importantly, they practice it and live it every day.

Networking for business growth must be strategic and focused. Not everyone you meet can help you move your business forward – but everything you do can be driven by the intention to grow your business. 

You have total control over who you meet, where you meet them, and how you develop and leverage relationships for mutual benefit.

Great networkers move their business forward, but they don’t do it alone. Great networkers have a plan, work to expand their network, go the extra mile, know how to get the most value for their time, communicate their message effectively, become the experts, capture their best stories and do what others don’t do.

People are drawn to them. New client go to them because they hear about them from so many people. Great networkers don’t need to do much selling, because many people come to them, ready to buy.

Imagine that! People coming to you, ready to buy! Are you smiling? You should be. Becoming a great, effective networker is within your reach. Your income is directly related to your ability to network your business for growth. Are you ready to get started?

Are you committed to actively growing your business by word of mouth? Have you decided that now is the time for you to advance from good to great?

If you’re ready, then let’s begin by discovering how well you are networking your business right now.  What are you doing well, and what are you doing not so well? You have to understand this in order to know where you are going.

We’ve made the process a little easier by providing you a structured self assessment tool. Using this exercise you can identify your strengths and weaknesses.  Be honest. Be brutally honest.

It will help you focus on specific goals and accountabilities – and, without a doubt, it will keep you focused on the true meaning of business networking.

Complete your self assessment here.

Taken from The 29% Solution by Ivan Misner.  For more information and how to make really changes in your networking, pick up your copy here.

May
14

Balancing BNI In A Busy World

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As small to medium business owners, we are quite often filling many roles in our organisational chart. Sometimes it can be challenging to get to the end of the to-do (or to-be) list each day whilst juggling all of these roles, and then before we know it, it’s time for our weekly BNI meeting again. There goes the week and we haven’t had a chance to follow-up on finding a referral for a fellow business member, complete a 1-to-1 dance card with the new member who just joined, invite a visitor or follow-up on the referral from last week.

I noticed this was becoming a pattern that I wanted to change it, as it’s important to me to be a great contributor to my BNI GROUP. So what are some strategies I can do to find a little more balance in my week and make the most of my BNI Membership?  Well, I have put together 7 strategies and yes some of them may seem really simple (and yes they are), however remember Lao Tzu’s quote “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

7 strategies that can help find balance in BNI


1. Align my BNI Personal goals or intentions with the BNI Chapter Goals
. For example – my chapter goal may be to invite 120 visitors for the year. I can then break that down in to an achievable action for myself. If my chapter has 30 people and we meet 48 times per year, which may mean inviting 4 visitors per year (which is doable). I have heard some Directors talk about 2 visitors per month. However, the most important thing is to decide and commit to inviting the visitors. Then I can schedule a reminder in my diary when I am going to invite the visitor and monitor my progress towards my intentions (or goals). N.B. I also do this for the other areas in BNI – referrals, 1-to-1’s, attendance and testimonials and complete this in my BNI Weekly Power Hour (see below).

2. Know Your Why Why do I want balance? What fuels my desires? What gets me out of bed each morning? Knowing the answers to these questions relate to your why! Many of the influential and successful people in this world are driven by more than just money. Money can be a spin-off from living our lives on purpose, however for the majority of people it is not the driving force.

What is your driving force or your why? Is it to have more freedom, to leave a legacy, to inspire people or to show them that they matter? Can I ask you to take some time now to really get clear on why you are doing what you are doing. Also, in challenging times, your ‘why’ is what will drive and keep you going! I have heard Kody Bateman (Founder & CEO of SendOutCards) say that if you have really found your “why” it will make you cry!

3. Schedule and complete a BNI Power Hour each week in my diary. As indicated in number (1), I have broken down my BNI intentions (or goals) in to small weekly actionable steps. Once these are broken down in to the smallest possible step (i.e. invite a visitor), I schedule the actions in my task management system. Most of these actions are recurring actions (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) and because I like to track my progress, I tick off the actions once I have completed them.

  • What are your personal intentions or goals for BNI?
  • Are these intentions or goals in line with your BNI Chapter?

After you have identified your personal intentions or goals and they align with your BNI Chapter goals, you can identify your weekly, fortnightly, monthly, 3-monthly, 6-monthly or yearly actions. Then these actions can be scheduled in your task management system or diary. These tasks form the basis of your BNI Power Hour each week.

4. Fill out my personal GAINS sheet. One tip I learnt early on in BNI was to fill out my GAINS (goals, accomplishments, interests, networks and skills). I would share this in my 1-to-1’s and ask questions to make sure I knew what the GAINS were for the business I completed a 1-to-1 (dance card). This helps me stay aware of different opportunities that may be presented to me when I am meeting with clients. Hot tip – to follow-up on the business I met with, I would e-mail their GAINS sheet and what I learnt about them to see if I missed anything and I could also share my own GAINS sheet that I had typed up

5. Allow People to Support You. Now allowing people to support you – am I serious? But you can do it yourself? Can you really? If you do everything for yourself, you are blocking people from supporting you and this can have an impact on balance in your life and increase your chances of burnout. I really believe we are all here for a reason and with that we have strengths in a variety of different areas. Subsequently, we cannot be great at everything. So allowing people to support you is important!

For example – do you ever have times in your life where you really want to talk a situation over with someone to get a different perspective? Have you ever had a time when you knew what you were after, however you couldn’t quite figure out where to find it? Have you ever had a time when you just needed someone to listen to you? Well, that’s what I’m talking about – we all need the support of friends, colleagues and family around us to support us through our life.

So can I ask you to share with a friend, colleague, coach or family member one of the things that you are going to take action on this week and allow that person to support you in achieving that task? As you are doing this activity – notice how you are feeling.

  • The action that I am taking this week is – __________________________________________
  • The person I will ask to support me is – ____________________________________________
  • What did I think, feel, notice or observe as I allowed this person to support me? ____________

6. Reward Yourself and Celebrate Your Results in BNI. Yes you read it correctly – reward yourself and celebrate! This is important – so important in fact that many people forget to do it. When we are setting and achieving goals, many of us are so focused on the achievement of the goal that we forget about the process and the actual achievement of a goal is one single point in time. One wise person said a long time ago “The journey is more important that the destination”. So on our journey to finding balance in BNI – how do I reward myself and celebrate my results?

Can I ask you to write down 3 ways that you are going to reward yourself and/or celebrate for completing the actions you set for yourself this week? For me, one way I enjoy rewarding myself is going to the movies. It doesn’t have to be huge, however it just has to speak to you and you have to commit to doing it. After you have written them down, plan when you are going to reward yourself this coming week, celebrate and enjoy!

7. Take Time Out. Yes – just like professional athletes and nature – it is important to take time out and recharge our energy. What do you enjoy doing to recharge your energy? Do you exercise and hear the leaves rustling on the trees or the kids playing in the playground; smell the flowers in the garden or the salty air if you live by the beach? What do you do to take time out of your day?

You may like to write down 5 things you can do this week to recharge your energy and notice how you feel after doing them:

  1. ____________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________
  3. ____________________________________________
  4. ____________________________________________
  5. ____________________________________________

So, there you have it – 7 Ideas to Balance BNI in a Busy World.  I hope they help you and remember – “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” – Martin H. Fischer and “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” – William James.

Jane Taylor is a BNI Director on the Gold Coast. She is the founder and director of Habits for Wellbeing and is passionate “Balancing Lives… One Habit at a Time” through coaching, retreats and speaking.

Categories : Networking Systems
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nowMany BNI members complain about never having time to network outside of their BNI meetings. What they don’t realise is that networking is not a chore – it can be one of the best and least expensive business building tool on offer today.

One thing is for sure, if you start allocating 15 minutes per day on specific networking activity – within 6-8 weeks you will start to see results.

Here are 5 things you can do within that 15 minute time frame that will get you fast results.

  1. Pick up the phone. Yes text messages are useful and emails are convenient, but nothing beats a conversation. Call a couple of lapsed clients for a “how’s things?” phone call. “I was thinking of you yesterday and thought I would give you a call and just see how you are going and what you are up to.” Then listen, don’t interrupt, don’t try to sell anything, just listen. You might even take notes.
  2. Send a thank you note. Who has done something for you in the last week? Who has gone out of their way to help you? Who has given you a referral recently? Why not send them a thank you note? It will probably take you longer to address the envelope than it will to write the note. Developing a habit of sending at least one thank you card a week is a great networking activity to practice.
  3. Recycle something you no longer need. In this age of high consumption, you may find that giving is almost as good as receiving. Whether you are recycling magazines, books, CDs (yes some people still use them), electrical equipment or furniture. If you no longer need something, why not give it away? You have enjoyed its use for long enough, why not pass it on? Of course the local charity shop or community centre will welcome all donations and you may find that some of your friends are happy to pass receive your unwanted possessions. Particularly if they have ageing parents and are often looking for different things to keep them entertained.
  4. Spend your entire 15 minute slot on LinkedIn and spend the time going through your connections and send recommendations to your preferred suppliers. Avoid writing exactly the same testimonial for everyone as they will show up in a cluster and people may notice your lack of originality. However testimonials need not be lengthy, 2-3 lines is sufficient. Don’t be surprised if you receive some recommendations in response. Remember what you give out comes back tenfold.
  5. Give a referral to someone in your BNI network. You probably don’t need a reminder with this, but there are BNI members unfortunately week after week who don’t give referrals. They are great at excuses, but lazy when it comes to giving referrals. The key is to make sure it is a referral – the name of the person expecting your call, a brief summary of what they want and contact details. A tip is a piece of information e.g. one of the hotels on the waterfront is doing a makeover. A lead is a little more information but still not quite enough e.g. the Star hotel on the waterfront is doing a makeover in the next 6 months. A referral e.g. The Star Hotel on the waterfront is doing a makeover in June. They have a tight budget but I told them you are in the makeover business and have a reputation for coming in on budget. John Seville is expecting your call, here is his number. Now that is a referral and John Seville will certainly welcome your call.

If you want referrals, start giving away referrals.

Article written by the “Australian Queen of Networking” Robyn Henderson

Global networking specialist, Robyn Henderson has authored and contributed to more than 30 books on networking, self promotion and self esteem building. She has spoken in 12 countries, presents over 150 times per year and has never advertised. All her work comes from networking, referrals, LinkedIn and her website www.networkingtowin.com.au

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In this second instalment of the “Why People Resist Networking” Video Series, Dr. Ivan Misner® discusses the second idea behind why people most likely resist networking–they claim they are much too busy to network.

According to Dr. Misner, the bottom line is that though people may feel they don’t have the time or that they’re too busy to network, in reality they’re simply not making the effort to take the time because they don’t realize two extremely important facts about the benefits of networking and the power it has to significantly build their business.

Watch the video now to learn why the “I’m too busy to network” mentality is something you definitely need to overcome if your goal is to grow your business as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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In this first video in the “Why People Resist Networking Series,” Dr. Ivan Misner® lists 4 ideas about why people most likely resist networking and goes into detail about the very first idea–Lack of Confidence.

He offers insight into three different reasons why people lack confidence when it comes to networking and then gives explanations & solutions to combat this reasoning which too often prevents people from reaping the benefits of networking for their business.

Rather than making assumptions, ask more questions.  This was a piece of sage advice that has been given to me both my spiritual mentor, and my sales coach!  No, they are not one in the same, but both have expressed the importance of asking more questions, as well as asking better questions.  Over the years as I have developed my networking skills I have come to learn the importance of not only asking questions but ask good questions.

I often teach people how to network effectively, to get beyond face to face cold calling, to do quality networking that allows you to build relationships with people whom you want to refer business to and who may want to refer business to you.  One of the most popular questions I get from my students is; “How do you start a good conversation with someone I meet at a networking event?”  My response is always the same, “Ask Questions”

People love to  talk about themselves, their businesses, what they are doing that is important to them, and what is going on in their world.  If you are shy, or timid, asking questions will allow you to interact and find common ground with people.  It will take you out of your shell by allowing you to focus on something other than your own fear.

Here are a few tips for asking questions:

Never ask yes or no questions, otherwise you just get yes and no answers and there is no conversation started.  Make sure your questions are open ended.

Ask thoughtful questions that you would really like to know the answer to.  People respond better when they know you are genuinely interested.  We are accustomed to hearing questions like, “How are you?”  “How’s business?”  “What brought you here?”  “What do you do?”  The truth of those questions is that no one really wants to know the answer, they are just being polite.

After you ask a question, listen to the answer.  It may lead you down the path of the next question or you may learn that the person you are speaking to would be a great connection for someone else you know if the room.

Don’t be a Drill Sargent and pummel the person with questions, it is far better to have 2-3 well thought out questions that draw the person into conversation with you, than it is to have a barrage of pointless questions.

One of the finale questions I will often ask people is this, “As I continue to network and meet people here is there anyone you would like to know or anything I can do to help you?”  In fact I almost always finish any conversation that I have with this question,  “Is there anything at all that I can do to help you going forward?”  If there is, I make a note of it, if there is not, I let them know that I am an email away if they can think of anything I can do for them, just drop me a note.

Often I can go to an event and say very little, but I learn a lot. It is said, that a wise man listens and questions, a fool rambles on and on.

hazelGuest Post Written by Hazel Walker: A passion for learning, personal growth, and relationship-building has been invaluable to Hazels evolution as a woman, a mother and an entrepreneur. Find out more at http://hazelmwalker.com/

systemExcerpt from Business Networking + Sex by Ivan Misner, Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walker

Find out what the survey says here

He Says

Systems? We have systems for everything! Have you ever watched a man build a fire on the grill? It is a system of beauty.  First you clean the grill, then you neatly stack the charcoals into a pyramid, and with great care then douse the charcoal with a precise amount of lighter fluid. Light that charcoal, and, ahhhh, fire. There just something about fire! Once the fire is just right, as only a man can tell, it’s time to throw your dinosaur steaks on the coals and let them sizzle! You see? We know systems, and the fire-making one is an example of one we perfected thousands of years ago.

There are many systems in business and it is important that we use them to our advantage, much like the fire. Putting systems in place that allow us to follow up consistently and stay in touch sounds like it should be pretty easy; after all, we dominated fire. So why do more more not use systems to complement their business activities? I would venture to say that staying in touch feels just a little too relational.  After all, those business contacts already know us and we’ve already sold them something, so why do we need to stay in touch?

If I told you having a system would allow you to make more money, would you be willing to use one? Of course you would. More money equals more free time, and if systems are in place to help, then we save both time and effort.

How many times have you forgotten to follow up on a referral or a call in a timely manner? It probably wasn’t because you didn’t have every good intention of doing so, but sometimes we become so busy that we forget the little things. Yes, women are better natural multi taskers. We men have to put more systems into place to make sure that we don’t drop that very detailed ball. Every time we do, it costs money! By and large, implementing more systems around our work allows us to make more money so that we have the time to do the things we love, like building fires!

She Says

The fortune is in the follow-up. Recently I passed a referral to a gentleman. I told him it was a done deal. I never heard from him, so I passed it to a second man and told him the same thing. He also never called me. The follow-up was completely dropped, simply because neither of these gentlemen had a system for following up, or there was an issue with me being a woman. Either way there was opportunity lost. This rarely happens to me with women, who will call or email me right away after a referral is made.

I once gave a man a $30,000 project referral that he never followed up on. I even called him a second time to give him a second chance. I gave the same referral to a woman and she followed up within 24 hours. Maybe this is the reason women feel they’re getting more business from their networking activities than men. They are more consistent with follow- up.

Categories : Networking Systems
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Excerpt from Business Networking + Sex by Ivan Misner, Frank De Raffele and Hazel Walkersystem

The Survey Says… Using a System

Using a systematic approach to networking was the focus of several of the questions on the survey.  Results were revealing in a number of ways. When we asked the people in the survey if they had a systematic approach for staying in contact with the people they met through networking, 58 percent of the respondents said “No.” We had very similar results on at least one other related question.  The difference between men and women in these responses was negligible and not statistically significant.

What is significant, however, is the most people don’t have a solid system in place to guarantee that they stay in touch and ensure their connections are not dropped. This is a fatal flaw in relation to building a powerful personal network. We know this because our later survey results showed how influential the relationship between using systems and producing positive business results was, but we’ll get to that soon.  Notice in the quote below how the impersonal follow-up, or lack of quality system, turns off the recipient:

I once attended a networking evening at which I was “sold” to by the men there.  One of them was a car dealer. I was actually thinking of buying a new car at that time. I listened to his sale speech, told him I was very interested and gave him my card, asking that he call me.  Two days later I got an impersonal mass-market email from him that he circulated to everyone he’d met.  He never called me. What’s the point of going to these things if you are not going to listen to the people you meet or follow up a hot lead?

Those who do use good follow-up techniques show how powerful solid follow-up systems can be. This couple, for example, discovered how to leverage one another’s contacts:

My wife and I work together to bring referrals to each other. She is a banker and I am an online business consultant. Her keeping-in-contact system begins with asking her for their business cards. Then she asks them if they have a website, how they like it, and how they get business. She uses that opportunity to refer them to my web design, e-commerce and online marketing services. In turn, I ask my clients if they use online credit card payment services for their business and use that as a segue to introduce them to the services my wife provides as a personal banker.

This respondent also recognises the importance of having a systematic approach:

I have a very extensive (yet monitored) “drip system” that has paid back it’s cost many times over. This “drip system” includes recipe cards, a birthday club letter (prearranged for clients to pick up a cake at their local bakery), monthly newsletters, anniversary cards for the settlement of their homes, and invitations to an annual night at their local ball game.  Whether or not the client chooses to participate isn’t important. Keeping my name in the forefront of their minds after the first contact is established is what’s important. Later they’ll know where to turn when my services are needed.

As this respondent observes, keeping one’s eye on the purpose of business networking is a vital aspects of following up, too:

I’ve made several strong personal friendships with both men and women as a result of business networking. Like any relationships, they require work. It’s been my experience, regardless of gender, that you need to be mindful of that when you reach that level of trust where it turns into a friendship, because then you can forget all about the business aspect of the relationship. This is why I feel it is key to have a structure in place that continually brings you back to generating business and making money. Losing sight of that changes the nature of the relationship.

Stay tuned for next month to continuing reading He Say + She Says On Planned Systems Yield More Results

Categories : Networking Systems
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Jun
11

8 Powerful Ways For Follow Up

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powerfulfollowupA lot of networking isn’t in making new contacts but following them up and developing the relationship.

To reap the benefits of networking, you have to become a master of follow up.  Not everyone you meet will instantly want to refer you or do business with you. You have to stay top of mind (in front of them) with emails, phone calls and in-person meetings.

Follow up, and keep following up. How many times have you been along to a networking event and had some great conversations? You swapped business cards and promised to “stay in touch”. You get back to work the next day, get stuck into your work and those good connections you made the day before soon become forgotten about and just another business card buried under the paperwork on your desk. Sound familiar? Neglecting to follow up with new contacts is one of the biggest mistakes people make with their networking. Not following up turns all your hard effort during the networking event into a waste of time. And just sending one email after meeting someone for the first time is not going to produce a new client or a flow of good referrals.

Here are 8 powerful ways for you to follow up with your connections;

1. Follow up with new contacts by doing things that have immediate value. Most people aren’t good at following up new contacts. The best follow-up from an initial meeting is one that provides value to the recipient. Perhaps an idea to help them or a link to a useful resource. The more it’s clear that you have thought about them and how to help them, the more likely they are to classify you as “someone to trust”. Of course, in order to do this, you need to understand what might be useful to them. And that comes down to the questions you asked (and how well you were listening) during the initial conversation. Understanding their (business) issues, challenges and aspirations is essential to this.

2. Keep in contact with regular 121 meetings. This is the forgotten key to building relationships that will lead to ongoing business and referrals. It’s how you go from “contact” to “connection”, from “acquaintance” to “friendship”, from prospect to client, from customer to advocate. 121 interactions can occur over a cup of coffee, a bite to eat or a drink after work. You could call and ask a client or contact if you can take a tour of their business operations. Why not invite them to a coming event they might be interested in and schedule time afterwards to sit down and share what you thought of the event with each other. The point is you’ve got to take the time to build the relationship.

3. Try to find out what is really important to the other person. Then think about other things you can do for them. Maybe provide a testimonial. If you see an article or some information that might be interesting, send it to them. Invite them to events where you think they’ll get benefit and introduce them to other members of your network. If it’s appropriate, promote their business on your website or in a newsletter you send out. Make referrals for them every time you have the opportunity — this might mean actively looking for potential clients/customers for them. There will be times when it’s appropriate to provide support. It maybe that they organise events and it might be appropriate that you sponsor them and there maybe opportunities where you can actually collaborate or form a joint venture with the other person. It’s important that you invest in your business/networking relationships and the way you do that is by finding things you can do for the other person (without expecting anything in return). By doing that you move others to do things for you.

4. Make your 121 meetings really count. Don’t walk away from a single 121 meeting without agreeing to do something or having gained or shared some useful information/advice. Ask your networking associates about the groups and organisations they find most fruitful. Discuss cross-marketing opportunities. Ask for the introductions and referrals you need to build your business. Help each other with a problem. Learn how to refer someone in your network to your contact. Teach them how to refer someone in their network to you. Teach them how to talk about your business to their own network members and learn how to talk about their business to the people you know. Exchange promises to make helpful introductions. Create a commitment or obligation to do something together or for each other. Set a date for the next 121 meeting.

5. Have substantive/productive/results-oriented conversations, not marshmallow ones. Most networking conversations are “small talk” and don’t go anywhere. Be different and ask questions that foster engagement and open the door to a mutually beneficial relationship. Find out about your networking contacts—what they do, how they do it, who benefits from it and how they benefit. Find out what are they passionate about, what are they struggling with, what are they looking for and what are their ambitions and objectives for their business. And then let them find out these things about you. (When I’m in conversation with my clients and networking contacts, I like to focus on things like, family, interest, talents, challenges and contacts)

6. No time to foster relationships? Of course you do. Always have your list of contacts at hand and snatch 15 minutes every now and then to make calls and shoot off emails and text messages ― ”Just touching base to see how you’re travelling.” This is what the great business developers do to keep in touch with people who are important to them, despite their busy schedules. A friend of mine says that networking is like shaving…..if you miss two days in a row, you look like a bum. He makes networking (meeting new people and reaching out people he already knows) a part of his daily routine. If you have business development responsibilities, you should do the same and it will translate into more confidence, more sales, more referrals and more clients.

7. Schedule times in your diary to keep in touch with the people who are really important to you. When most people think about networking, they think about meeting new people/going to some kind of event. What they forget is that the real value gained, the big payoff from networking comes from deepening relationships with the people you already know. Unless you “click” immediately, these deepening relationships will only come from you spending time with people over time. Typically, you don’t go from “stranger to new client or referral source” with one conversation. It takes time.

8. Keep expanding who you know. Attend three or four networking events each month and follow up with the people you meet. Getting out to networking events will do more to build our business than making cold calls, doing mail-outs, advertising and spending money on a website or well-designed brochure. And nothing, absolutely nothing is likely to come of all your efforts to meet people if you don’t follow up. New contacts almost never become clients, customers or referral partners as a result of a one-time meeting. It’s not the initial contact that does the trick; the rewards come from following up, following up on your follow-up and staying in touch. The majority, more than 80 percent, of buying decisions and referrals are made after the 5th contact. You have to be meeting, calling and emailing people on a regular basis if you’re going to turn those initial contacts into business.

Happy networking. Maybe we will see each other at a networking event some day.

Referred to as “That Networking Guy” by many organizations, Ron Gibson provides in-depth networking training and coaching, focusing on business growth and development. Get Ron to speak at your next conference or sales meeting about how to bring in more business, more consistently and more often.  Ron can be reached on mobile 0413 420 538 and email gonetworking@iinet.net.au

Categories : Networking Systems
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A lot of networking isn’t in making new contacts but following them up and developing the relationship.

Are you getting results from the time you spend networking? Wish your networking brought you more business, more referrals?

No doubt about it. Networking is the most effective way to generate new business. But unless it’s done properly it can be a waste of time and even counterproductive.  In this article we will cover the final 5 real-world tips to help you turn your networking efforts into bottom-line results.

1. When someone introduces themselves to you, repeat their name immediately. This will help you to remember names easily. Continue to use first names as often as realistically possible. not only when you’re speaking with people in person, but also when communicating with them via email or on social media sites. No doubt about it. Using people’s names helps you build rapport them.

2. Those who drive sales/business growth frequently want to know how to close the deal faster and more often. They often overlook the reality that “prospects/buyers” need to close themselves on the “seller” first before they will buy from you. That means, before YOU can close the deal, your prospect first needs to be sold on the following steps:

  • Do I like you ?
  • Do I trust you?
  • Do I believe that you/your product can do the job for me?
  • Do I believe you understand my business/situation/issues/concerns?
  • Do I have a need for your product/service/expertise?
  • Do I want your product/service/expertise?

handshake3. Don’t lose contact with people who are important to you. Send an e-mail or a text saying something like, “Wondering how you are travelling”….”I was thinking about you today and wondering how you are”….”where does the time go?”…. “It’s been too long since we last caught up for a chat”. “Love to catch up. Are you up for a cup of coffee anytime soon?”…. “I just wanted to touch base to see if you’d like to catch up for a cup of coffee and swap updates on what we’re both doing. Let me know if you’re keen.”…. “We haven’t talked in a while?….I thought it was about time I gave you a call…..It’s been a while between drinks. Just wondering how you’re doing/what you’ve been up to since we last talked? I’d love to/Be good to hear from you when you have the time.”…. “Just a quick update. I/We had a win today (briefly explain). Any good news at your end?”…. “Just rang to see how things are going for you”…. “Just saw your name in my contacts folder and thought to myself it was high time I touched base to say hello. It’s been too long between drinks (person’s name). How’s life treating you? Keeping well, I hope. How about we catch up for a coffee/beer sometime to swap updates on what’s going on in our worlds? Let’s know if you’re keen.”……..”How are you? I feel terrible that I have left it so long. Fancy catching up next week?”…….”This is just a catch-up call. I hope you’re well and busy plenty of business/work coming in for you. If you feel like a chat/If you’d like to have a chat, give me a call”…..”It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other and I thought it would be good to catch up for a coffee and chat. Are you free on (date) at say, (time) in (suburb)? If not, please suggest a couple of alternative times and I’ll try to be as flexible as possible.”  

Allocate time for this important activity. Make it part of your regular routine.  

Now here’s a task for you. Go through your contact list and find 4 people you haven’t been in touch with for a while and send them an email or text inviting them for lunch or coffee. Think of something to say that personalises your message and use the same or similar language above to tee-up a 121 in-person meeting. Commit to sending messages like this to your key contacts on a regular basis. You’ll be glad you did.

4. Don’t hand out/collect hundreds of business cards. We have all been at events and meetings where someone rushes up and thrusts a card at you. They barely caught your name or introduced themselves when they start waving a card. Whatever you do, avoid this kind of behaviour. Collecting masses of cards from people you can barely remember is not effective/productive use of your time. Take the time to connect with each person you meet. Ask genuine questions about them and their background. Spend 20 minutes or more with someone you really enjoy and, in the end, a true connection will be established. Suggest there and then that the two of you meet for coffee or breakfast to learn more about each other. After that meeting send an email saying that you enjoyed catching up with them and invite them to meet again to establish a pathway for building a relationship. Remember it’s quality, not quantity that makes your networking work for you.

5. Don’t call someone after you just met them to ask for a favour. Successful networking is about helping others first. It’s about relating and working with others that you share a mutual interest. Don’t squander the connection. Rather, foster it by inviting him or her for coffee, lunch or a drink after work and get better acquainted. Find some way to connect on a personal level. Don’t sell. Or at least don’t sell hard. Pay the bill, thank the person for coming and stay in touch. Build the relationship and let it develop over time. (What’s the best way to build a relationship? Help the person.) Look to do some kind of favour for your contact first before you call on them to help you. Nothing is a bigger turn-off than the person who calls you after you just met them and wants to pitch something to you. Typically, the receiver of the pitch wants to hang up or run away and usually stops returning messages.

Looking for more networking tips? Read part one here

Happy networking. Maybe we will see each other at a networking event some day.

Referred to as “That Networking Guy” by many organizations, Ron Gibson provides in-depth networking training and coaching, focusing on business growth and development. Get Ron to speak at your next conference or sales meeting about how to bring in more business, more consistently and more often.  Ron can be reached on mobile 0413 420 538 and email gonetworking@iinet.net.au

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