Business is not just doing deals; business is a cobweb of human relationships.
How many hours a week are you Networking? This is a question that I have asked numerous networking, business people over the years. Many of them had no idea. Others would quickly answer “Too many!” Still others would go on cvetching ( cvetching is a Jewish word I picked up growing up on Long Island) that they either saw little to no value in it or that they really didn’t like doing it.
The average Networker networks 6 hours per week according to the “Father of Networking”, Dr. Ivan Misner. But, who wants to be average? I can say that I always aspire at least to be slightly above average. What about you? Did your Momma raise you to be average? I am sure she didn’t raise you to be below average. If you are a high achiever, and you want to be above average, how do you network more than 6 hours per week? And, let’s face it, if you are putting 6+ hours per week into networking, you better see a RON (Return on Networking).
Before we can answer the question “How” can we, we must answer the question “what really is networking?” So, I went to numerous business people, entrepreneurs, and everyone else I came across and to my surprise, got a pretty similar answer.
“Networking is relationship building, making connections with people you know, like and trust”. Great! That is a great definition for “Networking”. So, if just about everyone I asked knew what Networking was, and they were doing it for countless hours, at numerous events, why was the return on it so low? Just as there was a simple definition to what Networking is, there is a simple reason why the return on it is so low. And that is very few people put a plan in place with a CTA that will yield them results!
Today, let’s begin the process of making a plan with specific Networking tools that we can implement so that you get a RON. That means developing a strategy. “Oh, No!” Yes, effective Networking takes effort, planning, time and making not only an investment in it, but also sticking to a commitment. Ok, I probably lost a good amount of you right now. But, for those of you who “get” that anything we do that is going to build our business, market our products & services, develop loyalty, and establish a referral system, is going to take work! I don’t know any other way to do it.
There is so much to tell you about Effective Networking I don’t really know where to start. I just picked a place as a foundation to build from.
The following are 3 Strategies to start with:
1. Choose a group that is a good fit for you. That will vary depending on who you are & what you like. Don’t just attend a group because someone else likes it. Are you a morning person? If your answer is No, then don’t choose a 7am group. Are you social? Do you like organization? Know who you are and who you can build a relationship with rather than trying to connect with everyone.
2. Prepare your ‘Intro” we used to call this an “Elevator Pitch” because in the time it takes to ride an elevator, you should be able to tell someone who you are & what you do. However, most people forget to be interesting and natural.
3. Ask “Open-ended Questions” so others can tell you who they are and what they do. This will give you a wealth of information on who makes up the group and if you are a good fit. Get their card instead of shoving your card in their face. That gives you the contact control. It is not a poker game, stop with the cards.
To be continued…….