Blog postOur featured Post
If you go to meetings armed and ready to deliver your latest elevator pitch, please pause for a few seconds. You can achieve much more with another approach and your business will certainly be more memorable!
There are two kinds of networking: transactional and relational. You’ve seen the transactional. Strangers eagerly share their elevator pitches and value propositions. If they offer attractive networks, then referrals often occur in the spirit of “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” However, the people who potentially lose out are those who received the referrals. The reason for this is that we innately assume that a referral from a person we know will treat us with the same integrity. If I referred you to someone I know, my contact will assume you will engage based on a similar value system. If this is not the case, my contact loses out and so do I.
Go deep, not wide, with your networking.
In relational networking, the process is more targeted. If you put an event on your calendar where you believe you will meet quality contacts to support your business, then do a little digging first. This is important so that you get the best “return on time” possible from your efforts. If you can find out who is attending, then put together a small target list of people to seek out. Research them on their company websites, LinkedIN, Facebook, real estate and charity sites. Use your wisdom, even intuition. People active in charities or touting long-termed relationships with employees and customers, tend to be relational. If you don’t know anyone at the event, then be prepared to engage in 3-4 worthwhile conversations with the purpose of an in-person follow up that you host. Don’t paper the room with your business cards. Take your time. Start out with questions, not your elevator pitch. Make your conversations all about them, their businesses. Decide on those you want to potentially invite into your contact list. Take them to coffee, breakfast or lunch. If you connect with someone who appears to have a similar value system as it relates to how they treat their customers, employees and so forth, they most likely will treat you and your contacts well too. They also tend to reciprocate any kind gesture you may offer or honor requests you may make of them down the road. As you follow up in person with new connections, you get a chance to understand them as it relates to how they approach business and people before you offer your valued introductions. Over time, you will earn the coveted reputation of having a valuable, extensive network among respected leaders. You will enjoy powerful support for your business and personal aspirations. Now, that is a great return on time!