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The Ten Commandments of Networking

By:   |   Jul 08, 2018   |   Views: 13   |   Comments: 0
The Ten Commandments of Networking

Every so often you meet someone who really lives what they preach. Nancy Roebke, is such a person. She has gained an international reputation as a first class networker. Nancy is the Executive Director of Profnet Inc, a professional business leads generation corporation. They bring business professionals together in a non-competitive environment to help each other make more money. She has put me in contact with some key people. Be sure to visit her website. (http://www.profnet.org/profnet)

What follows are some very key elements about how to network effectively. Let's all learn from what Nancy does in her day to day living. If we follow her advice, we can't help but make this a better place to live, not to mention, a more profitable income for each of us.

1. Though Shalt Be Prepared.
Networking happens in lots of places at scheduled and unscheduled times. It is essential to have networking tools available at all times...especially business cards. Be prepared for as many situations as possible with marketing material in all of your cars, in all purses or wallets, and at home AND your office.

2. Thou Shalt Be a Good Listener.
People give lots and lots of clues about help they need. Great business opportunities abound for those with good listening skills. A good example would be the loss of a client. Are you losing a client because they are moving away? If so, that client is going to need a Realtor, a moving and storage company, a title company and lots of other services to make this move.

Now's a chance to help a client AND build relationships with companies
who may refer YOU work in the future. Make those referrals to the client
that's leaving you. Call the companies whose services your client needs.
You will be building relationships with companies that will still be
around after your client has left.

3. Thou Shalt Give Before Receiving.
The building of relationships is a give and take process. Be prepared to give of yourself FIRST. Be the first to pass a referral out. Be the first to share new information. Be the first to make the initial contact. Make it your responsibility to start the networking process by giving of yourself first.

4. Thou Shalt Follow -Up.
Consistent, focused contacts build strong relationships. The follow-up process is like the relationship's courtship. Follow up on that referral you sent. Did it turn into business for the company you recommended. If not, why? Here's a chance to find out more specifically how you can help fellow business professionals. Follow-ups should have a purpose- to learn more
information that will solidify that business relationship.

5. Thou Shalt Be Specific.
When speaking to other people about your firm, speak in specifics. Real specifics. Help them focus on the faces of people and companies that they know. Don't say "I'm looking for everyone who needs financial planning services" if you are an investment advisor. We will have a hard time focusing on that big of a group.

Instead, say " I am looking for people who are having a baby." We can
focus on those faces. Or, "I am looking for people who are getting
divorced." We can focus on those faces, too. Specifics help people focus
on faces and therefore help others help you- FASTER!

6. Thou Shalt Choose Effective Networking Events.
Time is very valuable so it is essential that yours be spent as productively as possible. Make sure the events that you attend specifically for the purpose of networking are set up to allow effective networking. You can determine that by looking at the time of day the function is held, the function's agenda and who is sponsoring the function. Trying to do business at a social function will be very difficult and unproductive.

7. Thou Shalt Choose Contacts Effectively.
There are certain fields of business that can help you on a regular basis with referrals, the sharing of information, and on supply sources. Those would be firms that offer products and services that compliment yours. In our example above, a moving and storage company can get lots and lots of referrals from a Realtor. Every sale for the Realtor is a potential sale for the moving and storage firm. Learn what fields of business could best help you with referrals and build strong relationships in those industries.

And don't forget your competitors. In busy times, it's nice to have a
place to refer work to that you can't handle, and to have a source for
supplies or inventory if you should run low on something. Build good
relationships with some of your competitors. After all, they are
business professionals just like you.

8. Thou Shalt Share Your Resources.
Help other business professionals and they will help you. Share information on good suppliers, on new technology and on "bad" clients. This is all information YOU need to run your firm effectively. It's nice when others share it with you. Be prepared to reciprocate.

9. Thou Shalt Keep Good Records.
With the amount of information you will be mentally processing, it is impossible to remember everything. Keep good contact records. Besides the usual name-address-phone number stats, include information on hobbies, birthdays or anniversaries, favorite sports, etc. This information may be trivial, but when you remember a client's, supplier or competitor's birthday when no one else does, YOU will be remembered.

10. Thou Shalt Never Stop.
It can get to the point where you feel you have all the business relationships you need to insure your future success. There is no such thing. Humans are transient. They move. Sometimes they move the from the area they live in, sometimes they move within their field of business and sometimes they move to a new field of business. All of these changes can lose you a valuable contact. Make networking an ongoing process- the rewards far exceed the investment.

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