In my experience as a business coach, effective networking is one of the great “missing skills.” This is the age of the networker. It’s easy. Just be YOU, Follow up and Be consistent. The rest will fall into place.
Don’t be a salesperson.
No one likes going to a furniture store and getting served by someone who is only chatting you up because you may or may not want to buy a living room set. Good
networking involves taking the time to get to know the person without the intention of selling something in the next hours, days or even months, planting seeds that will grow with attention.
Really don’t be a salesperson in social media.
Think about it this way. Can you imagine if the only words that came out of my mouth were my social media words? You couldn’t walk up to someone in person and launch into your sales spiel without a “hello” and “how are you,” and a few stray questions about their day. Mix your messages up a little bit and show who you are. I like to show people how much I love my family, the things I struggle with sometimes, or funny happenstances I think others will enjoy. And, every so often- there is something I want to invite you to. Mix it up; you will have more success.
Be straight up and honest about what you are offering.
You don’t need to trick anyone into listening to your passion for what you are offering the world. Don’t make appointments to “learn about others,” with the intention of pitching anything. I recently read on Facebook about someone complaining because they received a referral that amounted to the referral selling their own business. Needless to say, the person receiving the referral didn’t appreciate it. Most people don’t like surprises. Just be honest about who you are and what you want.
Play the numbers game.
Networking, as I said, is about planting seeds. Every seed is not guaranteed to develop
into a thriving revenue stream. If you work the numbers, you will get results. What are your assumptions? One hundred percent returns, 50% returns or less? The more people you meet, the more you connect and offer value, the more likely you will reap the kind of results you desire.
Think of it as a constant audition.
You and your prospective best friend at that cocktail event are both auditioning. They are scoping you out, inspecting you for suitability and you are doing the same. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you will know when to turn it on. Just be delightful and helpful to everyone you can. Don’t assume you will make a networking love connection with everyone you meet. And keep going. It will pay off.
Keep track of who you talk to!
No matter how intense and meaningful your networking encounters are, you are probably not going to remember everything you need to when it’s time to send that e-mail, add them to the newsletter or connect with them on Facebook. Find a system to keep track of the people you meet, with intention of building meaningful relationships. I recently did a presentation to about 30 people, and I asked them to give me their health strategies. That night, I sent a personal note to each of them. I was quite tired, but NOW (rather than tomorrow) is the perfect time to follow up.
Don’t assume they don’t know.
Sales-y people tend to launch into their speech without assessing their “targets” level of knowledge. If I could have a nickel for the number of times I’ve watched someone’s eyes go blank as another eager networker offers value in an area that is already familiar territory. No one likes to be told about things they already know about.
Don’t look for something better.
Whether you are engaging in a Twitter conversation or a face to face connection at a luncheon, don’t look for something better while you are networking. Not only is it obvious (remember, you are auditioning) but it is insulting and won’t get you the results you are looking for. Focus on the moment. Be where you are. And when you are done, move on.
Remember, networking is a beautiful and often free investment in your abundant future. Just be authentic and engaged! You won’t regret it. What suggestions do you have for Rockstar Networkers? I want to know!