Business networking truly is what you make of it.
Networking is an investment; time, money and energy.
It’s just not possible to show up at a meeting and find success. There is a huge networking secret that we have been talking about in our meetings for years. Be deliberate.
I Googled “Professional Networking” and got the following result:
Definition of Professional Networking. “Networking is a deliberate activity to build, reinforce and maintain relationships of trust with other people to further your goals.
Let’s talk about a few ways you can be deliberate to get maximum value from your membership and deliver real value to your team. There is gold in being deliberate, and it truly takes the most overlooked step, prep for your meeting. There are several things you can do before your meeting that can make a massive impact on your networking results.
WHO DO YOU WANT TO MEET
Know who you want to meet and be specific. The 30 second profile is your exclusive spotlight, don’t squander it with vague requests for introductions. Don’t list generic verticals that are ideal referrals, be specific; WHO do you want to meet? What do you think will generate a greater response?
“Ideal referrals for me are any restaurants, pizza or beauty salons – or – I’m looking to meet John Doe, owner of Burger Joint and Jane Doe, General Manager at The Pizza Pie”
This is the easiest and most overlooked step for pre-meeting prep. Perfecting this process only takes a Facebook or LinkedIn account and about 5 minutes. Simply type the name of who you want to meet into the search tab and any of your current friends or connections who also know your target will be identified. Ask for the introduction: If you don’t ask the answer will always be no!
WHO CAN I INTRODUCE TO A TEAMMATE
Now reverse this thinking, who on your team can you refer a friend to or do business with yourself. Do you or a friend have any upcoming projects? Don’t forget about your “Friends I know and Trust” business card holder: Those who give receive more in kind.
IT’S NOT ALWAYS ABOUT A REFERRAL
If you don’t have a referral for your meeting how can you show your value to a teammate? It doesn’t always have to be a gift. Who can you endorse or share a testimonial about?
Have you recently read a book one of your teammates might enjoy? Arrange a book swap. Imagine the power of such a simple gesture, you both can improve yourselves without any additional financial investment.
DON’T FORGET GRATITUDE
Why wait for a referral to show your gratitude. Do you have regular or repeat clients on your team? Show your appreciation for that investment. Give them a holiday gift, or even a random thank you card or token of your appreciation. Tis more powerful to give that receive.