As the new year approaches, I always have a tendency to self-reflect and ask the following question:
What can I do to create a bigger impact in how I network and build relationships, and at the same time, support the networking & relationship efforts of others?
Listed below are my 15 top suggestions for greater networking success in 2014.
1. Invest More TIME With People
Set up one-to-one meetings with the people you connect with at networking events. One of the biggest investments you will make in building relationships and building your business is TIME. Simply stated, the more you know and understand others, the more likely your relationships will flourish.
2. Become PURPOSE-Driven
If relationships are going to be at the fore-front of your networking activities, then you first have to strengthen your relationship with yourself. Reflecting on your reason for being, and clearly defining your purpose and vision, is an important part of this process. If you don’t take the time to step back and work on yourself, who will?
3. Create Unparalleled VISIBILITY
The bottom line for more business in 2015 is simply becoming more visible. That means standing out in face to face and online social networks.
While Facebook is a cool place to hang out, consider strengthening your profile and connection base on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to make more of a professional impact worldwide. Also consider micro sites that are more local to the area where you want to market your services and create impact.
4. Develop RELATIONSHIP Strategies
Everyone talks about relationships. Now you can do something about it. A relationship strategy is any action you can take that adds value to others. Strategies put you in command and control of your relationship mindset. Don’t just talk about it. Do something about it. Develop your strategies today.
For a list of the top 15 relationships strategies to begin working with, check out my FREE downloadable Relationship Strategies Blueprint.
As always, if you need help in implementing these strategies, please get in touch with me.
5. Relentlessly Follow Up
Think about some of the recent networking events you attended and ask yourself the following questions:
- From the 10-15 people I met, how many actually followed up with you by sending a message, e-mail, or phone call and said – “What a pleasure it was meeting you at the recent any-town Chamber of Commerce event”?
- Then ask yourself the same question… How many people did I actually follow up with after the event with a message, e-mail, or phone call?
See what I mean? Most people are not following up with their connections the way they should be.
If you need a simple follow-up system that works every time, you can download another one of my FREE resources called Benefiting From the Magic of Six.
6. Be In a HURRY
The biggest driving force in our country and the world continues to be speed. People want what they want, and they want it NOW!
Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to you. Don’t wait to get better connected. And don’t wait to provide the support that’s needed by the people you’re meeting.
7. Find Ways to Become More USEFUL and RESOURCEFUL to Others
Simply stated, whatever you have done to satisfy anyone yesterday or today, it won’t be enough to satisfy them tomorrow. I want to suggest that you immediately look for at least six ways that you can become more useful and resourceful to others.
Let me give you a hint… Keep meeting people! The more people you know that know what to do next, and know how to get things done, the more useful and resource you will become.
8. Increase Your FREQUENCY of Interaction
Increased interaction brings increased cooperation with others. Too often, people fail to follow up after their meetings. If you can get up to six interactions with anyone, it’s likely that you’ll have a good start for a relationship that will grow over the long-term. Review suggestion #5 for more comments to support this idea.
9. Share Your REFERRAL CLUB Experience
There are many people in business today that are not happy with the amount of business they are doing, the amount of profits they are earning, and the amount of sales they are making.
That’s the exact reason why business referral groups like Gold Star, BNI, and LeTips are achieving massive success.
When you find a group of dedicated business professionals that meet weekly with a structured agenda, and with the sole purpose of building relationships and passing referral to one another, it’s a sure win.
If you’re interested in setting up your own Business Referral club under the Gold Star banner, I’d love to help you. Call me at 317-696-1367 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
10. CONNECT THE DOTS as Often as You Can
This suggestion is all about making the most from the Small World Phenomena. When was the last time you heard that infamous expression: “It’s such a Small World Isn’t It?” Keep in mind that the power in your networking efforts is always in the connection.
Did you know that the connection between you and the people you’re meeting is never just between you and them? It’s between you, them, and something else that you have in common.
If you want to learn more about this process, check out my article, “It’s such a small world isn’t it?”
11. Develop PERSONALITY Insights
If the biggest investment we make in building relationships is time in getting to know others, then we have to gain greater insights in ourselves, and how we can ADAPT to others.
If I understand you, and you understand me, doesn’t it make sense that we would get along better?
The DISC model of human behavior is a proven model to do just that. Learn more about my DISC training and assessments and how they can help improve your relationships and productivity.
12. Become the Most INTERESTED Person in the World
I often see people attempting to get others interested in themselves. Let’s face it. Networking is awkward, hit and miss, situational, lacks support, and most often, it’s all about the other person. As opposed to wanting people to be interested in you, simply become the most interested person in the world. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it becomes to get people interested in you.
13. Go After the Relationship, Not Just the Sale
This is a big reason why most people find networking so ineffective. They’re going after the sale too quickly and too directly. When looking to build your business, focus on creating and nurturing relationships first.
14. Don’t Manage People (Manage the System)
Systems build businesses, and are more predictable and reliable. In a networking environment, it’s very difficult to get people to do what you want them to do, and if you could, it would have to be from their own willingness.
My suggestion is that you stick to a predictable system that works every time. For a fun metaphor on how you can build relationships by using a system, check out my Toaster video on YouTube.
15. LISTEN Three Times as Much as You Speak
When you speak, you learn what you know. When you listen, you learn what others know. The power has always been in the listening.
Here’s a good question to ask yourself… When was the last time anyone said – “Thanks for taking the time to listen?” If it’s been a while, then focus on becoming a better listener.
In fact, great listeners, have great connections.
So when all is said and done, Stay focused.
Challenge your thinking and underlying beliefs, be more strategic, go after the relationship, connect the dots, make the connection, and always take the moment and dance with it.