Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Powerful Networking: Focus on Building Connections, Not Closing Sales > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

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. In the same sense, the mission of networking is not to gain business and close sales. The mission of your networking activities is to make connections, develop relationships, and help others. The outcome of these activities will ultimately be increased business. It's the reward, not the purpose.

Matt Soltis, in his book Strategic Networking, says, "Although an early supporter of business networking, I became quickly disillusioned with it as a mainstay of my marketing plan. I found that something was missing from those long sessions of glad-handing and exchanging business cards. I had collected a pocketful of business cards but little else.

"While I was analyzing my needs and talents it was pointed out by my personal coach that I had a behavioral style that lent itself to chatting, while listening took a back seat. How could I learn if I would not listen?

"At the next opportunity to network, I intentionally listened, never interrupted, and found myself very interested in the other person's business. When I spoke, I asked questions, just a few, but selective so that they elicited answers about the other person's needs. I had stumbled on to the answer I was looking for. I wasn't there to find clients. I was recruiting others to look for my clients and pledging to reciprocate as I learned more about their business. I was participating in something I later described as strategic referral networking."

So how can you approach networking from a prospective that ultimately leads to increased business? First, it is important to understand that developing a network is a process, and it is about building relationships. A key objective of effective networking is to find out about others ? their concerns, problems, needs, and wants.

Become a problem-solver and a resource. Listen for problems you can help others solve, either directly or by referring them to someone else in your network.

Practice the fine art of questioning (and listening). Asking open-ended questions, and really listening to the other person's responses, is one of the most important networking skills. Some key questions or statements you can use to elicit additional information include:

· What would be an example of that?

· Please expand on that.

· Tell me more.

· How do you do that?

Be curious. Develop a true interest in others, what they do, and what they need.

Follow up and stay in touch. Developing a network is not about attending a bunch of meetings, having a meal, and going home. After all, the word "work" is part of "network." Remember, developing a network is a process. Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, describes networking as a process of developing visibility and credibility. Only then will your activities lead to profitability. It may take as many as five to 15 contacts with an individual over a period of weeks, months, or even years to develop the kind of visibility and credibility that leads to profitability.

Look for ways you can support your network members. It's not always about doing business with or even referring business to them. Some ways for you to support your network members include:

· Posting their information on your website or in your newsletter.

· Inviting them to speak at an organization in which you are involved.

· Doing joint promotional projects with them.

· Distributing their information.

· Nominating them for recognition and awards.

· Inviting them to attend events with you.

Arrive early, stay late, and get involved. Take a leadership role in the organizations you are involved in. It's a great way of becoming more visible and developing greater credibility with a larger number of people in a shorter amount of time. Focus on giving, not getting. If you look for ways to assist others, you will be rewarded for your efforts both directly and indirectly in unexpected ways.

Don't keep score. "Successful networking is never about simply getting what you want. It's about getting what you want and making sure that people who are important to you get what they want, too," said Keith Ferrazzi during a January 2003 interview for Inc. magazine. Or as Sandra Yancey, founder and CEO of eWomenNetwork quotes her mother as saying, "Give without remembering and take with out forgetting."

In addition to the ultimate reward of increased business, effectively developing your network will bring you:

· Different prospectives

· Information

· A support team

· Connections

· Strategic alliances

· Access to resources

· Advice and Ideas

· More potential solutions

In his book, Soltis points out another value of networking: the ability to bring your clients value-added relationships through referring them to the right individuals to help them solve all of their personal and business dilemmas ? whether it is a tax question, temporary housing, or a place to board an exotic pet. As you determine the role that networking plays in your business-building strategies, ask yourself these questions:

· How can I assist the members of my network?

· What are their needs?

· What resources can I bring to them?

· What connections can I help them make?

What can you expect if you put in the time and effort required to develop an effective network? To paraphrase Yancey, from her CD, Increase Your Net Worth by Developing Your Network: A strong network brings the power to make things happen and provides a safety net when things aren't going so well.

© 2004 Strategies-by-DESIGN. May be reprinted with credits and contact information.

Julie Chance is president of Strategies-by-Design, a Dallas-based marketing consulting firm specializing in marketing programs including marketing coaching for professional service providers. If you are interested in additional information about how to develop more leads, turn those leads into loyal customers, and obtain a greater return from your marketing investment, Julie invites you to sign-up for their free marketing tips newsletter at http://www.strategies-by-design.com.

In The News:


Forbes

Playing On A Bigger Field: Hiring, Firing And Conscious Networking
Forbes
I discuss the challenges and rewards of scaling a service business. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Last April, I had the privilege of attending Birthing of Giants, a tightknit, high-power masterclass for growing entrepreneurs.


Forbes

Hate Networking? Two Easy Secrets To Connect Like A Pro
Forbes
The most common excuses I hear from those who avoid their networking responsibilities are built on limiting beliefs and a fixed mindset. For example, “I hate networking events,” “I don't know what to talk about,” “I'm too busy,” and my personal ...


The Daily Pennsylvanian

Entrepreneurship and networking: What you missed at the Penn Innovation Conference
The Daily Pennsylvanian
A hundred students from across Penn's schools are selected through an application to attend the full-day conference that featured speaker events and networking opportunities. WTH Director Anne Stamer estimated that attendance is split 50-50 between ...


Cisco introduces networking solutions
The Punch
Cisco Systems Nigeria has unveiled intent-based networking solutions as part of its vision to create an intuitive system that anticipates actions, stops security threats, continues to evolve and learn. The Information Technology company in a statement ...


Forbes

Mixtroz Hopes To Make Networking Events Valuable Again With ...
Forbes
The Mixtroz mobile app uses short questionnaires to match attendees in small groups at events, acting as a social lubricant to get conversations started as well ...

and more »

Forbes

6 Ways Millennials Can Meaningfully Engage In Networking
Forbes
For many, networking evokes fear, anxiety, and general dread. This makes sense, as networking often feels transactional, self-serving, and fruitless. However, there is a better way, which requires re-establishing what the purpose of networking is ...


Entrepreneur

How My Children Taught Me a Lesson in Networking from ...
Entrepreneur
Networking should be less about you and more about THEM, and parenting helped me realize it.

and more »

Network World

6 AI ingredients every wireless networking strategy needs
Network World
An area where AI is already showing enormous value is wireless networking. The use of machine learning can transform WLANs into neural networks that simplify operations, expedite troubleshooting and provide unprecedented visibility into the user ...


Forbes

Lifeprint Review: Portable Photo Printer With Augmented Reality And Social Networking
Forbes
I help you make the most of your Apple gear and other technology Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. Lifeprint Covers a Lot of Ground. At first blush, the Lifeprint is a cool little portable instant printer. It's considerably ...


ZDNet

Windows 10 networking and security tips
ZDNet
The networking tips in this category cover administrative tasks, such as weeding out saved Wi-Fi credentials and looking up your IP address, as well as occasional troubleshooting demands. Unfortunately, in a world where connectivity is easy and fast ...

Google News

Time to Hire a Professional Networker?

It used to be that people said that there was... Read More

7 Step Plan To Get Going With Networking

Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, feel like you... Read More

Youve Got Personality, Use It!

For the self employed professional, nothing is more important than... Read More

10 Terrific Tips to Talk Your Way to the Top

What is "the top" anyway? According to society, "top" has... Read More

Follow-Up with Your Contacts

What happens when you meet a potential client at an... Read More

How to Announce a New Product

How can the introduction of new products affect the way... Read More

Come Home Rich - How to Get the Most out of Your Next Conference

Success in your career depends upon how well you manage... Read More

Why Cant I Remember Your Name?

You're terrible with names. You forget someone's name within ten... Read More

Five Steps for Expanding Your Customer Base with Guerilla Networking

As a single company, it is impossible to provide your... Read More

Your Front End

While surfing for traffic or browsing your safelist emails, you... Read More

Hey, Whos the New Guy? How to Make Guests and First Timers Feel Welcome

The New Guy is a person we all know. And... Read More

Sticky Situations: Nametag Best Practices

Because a person's name is the single context of human... Read More

Networking: What the Heck is a Ryze?

If you're new to the internet marketing club, you may... Read More

Business Networking - Common Myths and Realities

Can we agree about the meaning of networking? I don't... Read More

Community Involvement Networking

It is important for you to join at least one... Read More

Why Arent You Talking to Me?

Your nonverbal communication talks before you do. Only seven percent... Read More

Networking: Breaking into the Buzz

Breaking into conversational groups is one of the things people... Read More

How to Collect Business Cards

Why the business card grab is not why you are... Read More

Networking

Networking: Is it who you know or what you know... Read More

Why Cant I Start A Conversation With You?

One out of every ten Americans has a fear of... Read More

Who Are You and What The Heck Do You Do?

A few years ago, I was attending a family function... Read More

Flying High, Flying Far

"What me? Sell myself? You have to be joking!"This was... Read More

Good Manners Mean Good Business

Good manners, good networking and good business all have the... Read More

Alcohol & Events

Many people associate alcohol with relaxation and fun, so it... Read More

Giving the Gift of Your Name (The Networking Factor)

Although, this is about giving the gift of your name... Read More