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Is Your Networking NOTworking?

by James Ball on April 12, 2010

 

 

Today’s post is from a guest contributor, Taryn Pisaneschi. Learn more about her after the article.

 

I have a secret to tell you. I am going to tell you exactly how I quadrupled a business’ market share in 18 months – this, for the most part, using very little money. Are you ready?

Strategic Networking

Yes, it’s that simple. But you have to understand what this actually means… you probably don’t know, even though you may think that you do. Take a minute and think about what networking means. Yes, right now. Think about it.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, networking actually means the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business. Is your networking INTENTIONALLY productive, sporadically productive, or is it passively unproductive? Just because you are going to events doesn’t mean people are seeing you or that you’re producing anything from it aside from handing out and receiving business cards.

This is highly relevant to your online social networking efforts as well. Are you generating business from them? Are you finding people to connect with but waiting for the magic to happen and it just… isn’t? If it’s not producing, have you truly been networking in light of the definition above?

As Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” I’ve adapted that for my business modus operandi: “Be the gate-opener, referral generator, problem solver, and connector for others that Iwish to see in my world.”

Successful networkers share something in common – selflessness. In fact, Bob Burg refers to this as the “willing suspension of self-interest”

“…while the typical person forms their first impression of the other
by silently assessing how that person can be of help to them, the more astute Networker, the Go-Giver…comes from a very different point of view, wondering first how they might be of service to the other.” – Bob Burg

I personally know this strategy and mindset work as I’ve employed these tactics for 8 years. I‘ve not paid for advertising, and yet my businesses have grown consistently year after year. The key is in being patient and recognizing that business referrals are not instantaneous, just like relationships. Referral business that closes takes time, but if you plant the seeds today with effective networking practices, it leads to business tomorrow.

Here are the million dollar questions that you need to ask yourself daily – Who can you help and how? How can you leverage your existing contacts and networks to help others? Who can you refer strategic alliances to? What gate-openers can you connect?

Try these tips next time you connect with someone in person or online and see what happens:

1 – Instead of telling people what you do, ask what THEY do.

2 – Ask open ended questions such as “what do you like about your industry?” and “what two things would you change about your business?”

3 – Say “I’d really like to make some valuable introductions for you to either strategic alliances or gate openers- who can I introduce you to?”

4 – Act as if YOU are the host or organizer of an event or online
community and reach out to newcomers to make sure they feel welcome.

5 – Be selfless and seek ways to SOLVE PROBLEMS without YOU being the ultimate solution. Help people and they will be more inclined to hear you and want to know how they can return the favor.

Scott Goodknight sums this up well in the 4th principle of his Break-Thru theory: “If you will make it your mission to help other people get what they want and need, you will get what you want and need automatically.”

Were there a few instances in the past few weeks, maybe even in the past few days, where you approached a potentially powerful contact in passing yet had the “what’s in it for me” mentality? Why don’t you reach back out to that person, put your immediate agenda aside, and see how it is that you can help them get what THEY want.
– You may be pleasantly surprised by the results. –

 I needed a speaker once, and Taryn was gracious enough to be there for me. I reached out to her initially because she was one of the most profound people that I knew in Atlanta. Taryn has become a valued friend to me both online and off. She lives what she teaches and I admire her for it. I’ve personally learned how to better network with the people I meet via social media channels from Taryn. It’s a privilege to have her writing here today. If you are interested in being a guest blogger here on NoteasyToForget.com, please feel free to contact me. -JB

  

Taryn is the founder of Women Intelligently Networking (WIN!) and as such is constantly hosting and facilitating seminars, classes, and networking events for women in the greater Atlanta area. Her personal blog can be found at TarynP.com and she’s easy to find on Twitter as well. If better networking and visibility is something that’s important to you, I encourage you to get in touch with Taryn and find out when and where the next event will be…you won’t want to miss it! 

Todd Schnick April 12, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Serve first, sell last. That is my networking philosophy. The few people I know who truly practice this, are the people that have thriving businesses…

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