Most networking encounters result in dead-end leads mostly because people’s perception of how to network is wrong. Business people will trade business cards, information, and have short conversations with strangers who very possibly have no intent on connecting in the future. How many of these short interactions actually end with one party contacting the other? Here we will look at 3 game-changing tips practiced by networking experts.
TARGET SPECIFIC PEOPLE
It’s a myth: “If you want to succeed, you must have a large network of connections.” It’s not the size of the connection that counts; it’s the influence of the people you know and your relationship with them that makes the difference. Having large networks will do nothing for you if your contacts have no interest in you or your business. Here is an example: How many friends do you have on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Maybe you have several hundred or even a thousand. How many of these people contact with you monthly or even yearly? Honestly speaking, only your close friends/family will be connecting with you regularly. It’s the same with networking… only more extreme. If your number of connections is large, but the people in your groups are all strangers, the chances of doing services with them is very small… a short time after your encounter, they probably won’t even remember your name.
How do the best networkers form relationships with other well-connected people? You need to purposefully target the people you wish to connect with. Here is a plan. Write a list of 20 to 30 influential people in your marketplace. People you may wish to connect with could include: business leaders you have done business with in the past, people who have strong potential to introduce you to large numbers of buyers, or high-quality prospective clients. Then, strive to get earn their attention. If you could build up a short list of well-connected people (even 5 to 10 people) and if you could have these people a phone call away, opportunities for your business could be vastly improved. Instead of spending your time attending events to connect with strangers who only want to sell their products, begin targeting those people who can really help you.
START WITH PEOPLE YOU KNOW
Many professional networkers avoid wasting all their time attempting to connect with strangers. Your friends and family have your interests in mind. They also know more about you, your character, and your business than most people; their ability to pass on a good word and create opportunities for you is much greater than the chances of connecting with a stranger. From my personal experiences, I can’t think of even one door that was opened or opportunity that was created from networking with a stranger. Every business and career opportunity that I’ve experienced has been the result of networking with family and friends and connections they can introduce. Thus, start with your family and friends and see where this leads you.
TAKE YOUR TIME – HASTE MAKES WASTE
In the initial contact, many business people are too pushy to get what they want and they create awkward situations. As a result, they damage their chances for future communications. Be patient. Take your time in developing a relationship with your connections. If your connections see you as a “salesman type of person”, they are likely to avoid you. If the opportunity doesn’t present itself in the first connection, don’t push it. After some time of communicating, you can connect with them with a purpose in mind.
Networking is indeed a vital part of business and an important tool, however, if used in the wrong way, this tool can be ineffective. Business people waste a lot of time and valuable potential customers because they don’t know how to use this tool.