The BS Business Tip of the Week brought to you by Bryan Sirak: Effective Networking

Refernce Blog:  http://blogs.actioncoach.com/bryansirak/

“Universal Truth of Connecting:  The question you have to ask yourself is:  How can I make people better as a result of connecting with me?  Note:  This is not just a strategy to connect at a networking event, this is a strategy to connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time.”

… Jeffrey Gitomer in “The Little Black Book of Connections”

Networking is not an optional before or after business hours activity.  Networking is a vital and integral part of your business success.  You conduct business between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you build business before and after “normal” business hours.  Ten hours a month of intelligent, selective networking can have a doubling effect on your business growth in just a few months.

  1. As with any other marketing activity, it’s first critical to know WHO …
  • · Who is your ideal customer/client?
  • · Who do you currently know that could provide you with an introduction to your target?  (both within and outside of networking events)
  • · Write a list of your most powerful connections.  Next to each of their names, write a sentence or two about how they have helped you and how you would like for them to continue to help you … now write a sentence or two about how you have helped them … isn’t that interesting.
  1. Develop your Action Plan
    1. What do you want from networking?
    2. Who, specifically, are you trying to meet … and why?
    3. Determine where you will find your targets in greatest density (attachment).
    4. Determine how much time you will spend per week, per month at which events
    5. How many leads do you want to generate and qualify per week?  Per month?
  2. Do your homework … be prepared to know what’s most important to THEM.  Be prepared to GIVE first, rather than “ask” first. … you are opening a new relationship.  The purpose of networking is to achieve engagement that leads to an appointment.  So until or unless you have asked powerful questions and have genuinely shown how you can help the prospect, you won’t gain their interest in connecting with you again.
  3. Develop a powerful 30-second commercial
  4. Execute the plan:  “Good things come to those who have patience and take consistent, persistent actions toward what they want”

At a networking event:

  1. Be prepared … target who it is you’d like to meet
  2. Talk to them:
    1. Be friendly first
    2. Project confidence (in self and in others)
    3. Be truly present – look them in the eye with respect
    4. Project a positive attitude
    5. Be willing to take some risk … put yourself ‘out there’
    6. Be prepared and consistent in your communication
    7. Focus on the prospect and not on your intentions
    8. Take a genuine interest in others
    9. Find something you have in common
    10. The more powerful the person, the slower you need to go
    11. Ask powerful questions – let them demonstrate they are the expert
    12. Focus on them talking 80% of the time
    13. Be aware of time … are you intending to work the room or just that one person?
  3. Presuming it’s a qualified lead, and you’ve demonstrated you have value to provide to them, exchange business cards.
    1. On the back of your card (you intend to give them), write the commitment you have made to them
    2. On the back of their card (they give to you), do the same
  4. Categorize them on their card (A.  Wants my product/service;  B. Knows someone who may want my product/service;  C. Valuable contact;  D. Professional contact;  E. Social contact;     F. Useless Contact)
  5. Move onto the next person (note:  if you spend 3 minutes with each prospect, that gives you a possibility of twenty contacts per hour!)
  6. Follow up less than twenty-four hours after the event to confirm the next commitment.

The rules of business are not as tough as the rules of relationships.  Relationships are hard to develop, take time to mature, and must be nurtured along the way.  Once achieved, they are the most powerful force in the business world.  PROOF:  Look at the customers you WISH you had.  The main reason why you can’t get them is that someone else has a better relationship with them than you do.

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