When thinking about becoming more skilled as a networker, you usually think about what you can do to network more effectively. It is important to know the right things to do while networking and it’s equally important to start thinking the right way to make your networking efforts successful. Here are 5 suggested steps to align your mind-set and skill set when networking:
THE LAW OF RECIPROCITY – OR “GIVERS GAIN” APPROACH.
The law of reciprocity sets in motion inkind responses of individuals based on the actions of others. We call this the “Givers Gain” approach. You shouldn’t approach networking thinking I did this for you, now what are you going to do for me? Rather, you should remember the old adage “Give and you shall receive.”
Look for groups that don’t target people just like you. In this way, you’ll broaden the net you seek to cast for referrals. With so many great networking organizations out there, if you stay only in groups that focus on your profession, you lose the breadth you need to develop a wide-reaching network.
For networking to yield extraordinary success, your mentality must be more like that of a farmer. Farming is a strategic process that takes time and planning. There is no quick return. Like a farmer seeds his fields, focus on the process of cultivating relationships and seeding them to yield referrals that create the networking results you desire.
ACTIVATE THE VCP PROCESS VCP
Stands for visibility, credibility and profitability. To gain valued visibility and credibility, consider joining a chamber of commerce, writing a regular column in your local newspaper or blog, and/or volunteering to speak or serve on a panel at events. People will then recognize that you’re here for the long haul, and you’ll begin to receive quality referrals, and achieve profitability from networking.
SHARP-SHOOT, DON’T SHOT GUN
Focus on your top two or three areas of expertise. Develop a 30-second introduction that communicates this expertise clearly, accurately, and passionately. Do not try to say it all, rather, gain their interest by saying the things you and your firm excel at.
Conducting a one-to-one is almost like doing an interview, except that you both get to ask questions. The ideas is to build trust more effectively and rapidly by meeting inperson formally to share relevant information (not fluff) about each of you, including education, experience, interests, hobbies, family or pets, and capabilities. Aone-to-one is a more formalized way of building a mutually beneficial business relationship, so that a referral partnership may be established.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dr. Ivan Misner is known as “the father of modern networking”, and is the Founder & Chairman of BNI, the largest business networking organization of its kind in the world. Jeff Stay is the Executive Director & CEO of BNI Miami-Dade, the local franchise of BNI with over 1,000 professional members in 26 chapters located in Miami- Dade County.