One Simple Rule for a Winning Approach to Networking

In this video, Networking expert Charlie Lawson talks with me about the Networking Disconnect which commonly hinders the success of many who attend networking events and mixers.

Charlie explains that the Disconnect can be avoided all together by following one simple rule that will get your networking approach and intent geared in the right direction.  I’ll give you a hint–it involves big fish and coffee. 😉

After watching the video, come back and comment about your experience(s) with the Networking Disconnect (trust me, we’ve all had some experience with it) and what you think about the advice Charlie offers in the video . . . looking forward to hearing from you!

The Secret to Getting More Business Through Networking

I am constantly being asked, “What’s the secret to getting more business through networking?”  After more than two decades in the world of business networking I can confidently say that there is, indeed, a proven way to get more business through networking, though I wouldn’t quite call it a secret . . .

The best way to get more business through networking is, without a doubt, to spend more time doing it!  Okay, so, it’s a tad more complicated than that because you have to spend the time doing the right things with the right people.  However, based on a recent Referral Institute study on business networking, there is a definitive answer in regard to the amount of time people spend networking and the impact on the amount of business that is generated by that amount of time.

The most dramatic statistic found in the study is that people who reported “networking played a role in their success” spent an average of 6.5 hours a week participating in networking activities.  However, the majority of people who claimed “networking did NOT play a role in their success” spent 2 hours or less per week developing their network!!

This means that there is a direct correlation between the time you devote to the process and the success you realize from it.  To illustrate this further, I have inserted a graph below which relates to the average percentage of business generated from someone’s networking efforts in comparison to the amount of time spent participating in networking activities.  Here you can clearly see that people who are spending between 5-9 hours a week networking are generating, on average, 50 percent of their business from these activities.

People who spend over 20 hours a week networking, on average, are getting almost 70 percent of their business through referrals!

How much time are you currently spending on networking each week?  Do these statistics make you want to devote more time to networking?  If you ask me, the time investment is definitely worth making.

If you have found certain networking activities to be particularly worthwhile and productive, please share them in the comments section.  Telling about what’s working for you may help others wishing to devote more time to networking to make more informed decisions about exactly which types of networking activities they will devote more time to.

Do Men or Women Get More Referrals?

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7spXRgDljhg&feature=channel_video_title[/tube]

[Business Networking and Sex is scheduled to be released in January of 2012.  Stay tuned to other topics from the book by visiting www.BusinessNetworkingAndSex.com.]

Do women get a higher percentage of business from networking or do men? This is the lively discussion taking place between my Business Networking and Sex co-authors and I in this short video.  What do you think?  I’d love to get your opinion on the topic!

After watching the video, leave YOUR opinion here.  Share which gender you believe gets a higher percentage of their business from networking and WHY.

You Don’t Become Exceptional by Looking For Exceptions

Over and over again in life I am reminded that exceptional performance is not achieved by looking for exceptions.  I don’t feel very diplomatic today so, I’ll just say it like I see it.  I find it really tiring to deal with people who want “great” results but don’t want to put in “great” effort.  I honestly think that if people spent half as much time focusing on the fundamentals of success in the areas they are interested in – they would get twice the results of what they are currently getting.  Instead, I see way too many people searching for ideas and then arguing with people about what works (especially people who have already achieved success in that area).

Earlier this year I read an article by a friend of mine who was talking about Tony Alessandra’s Platinum Rule (treat people the way ‘they’ want to be treated, not the way ‘you’ want to be treated).  His piece was well written about Tony’s material.  Then, some guy posted a comment saying this was a horrible idea because people don’t always know what’s best for them.  Really?  That seemed crazy to me but, maybe I was overreacting.  I thought I’d check some of this guy’s other writings.  I started looking at his comments on other people’s postings and he was ALWAYS the guy taking the opposing position.  He disagreed with virtually everyone about virtually everything.  I then started looking at his original postings and discovered he was a total loser!  He clearly jumped from business to business and didn’t appear to be successful at anything.  The best thing this guy seemed to do was. . . wait for it, wait for it – yes, argue about everything.

Soon after I read my friend’s article about the Platinum Rule, I received an email from someone who visited some networking groups and wrote me an email saying:

“I am interested in how I can provide my extensive list of contacts to a local networking group without having to attend the weekly meetings… we can [only] attend once a month to a meeting… but we still [want to] adopt the groups ethos and principles of such a well structured program.”

His request got me thinking…

I’d like to win the Tour De France but, I don’t like all that peddling. I’ve always thought it would be amazing to win an Olympic medal but come on, is all that conditioning really necessary? I would have liked to become a medical doctor but, can I do it without all the blood and internal organ stuff… yuk! I would love, really love, to be a military General – but boot camp? Really, do I have to do boot camp? But, most coveted of all – a Nobel Peace prize. That would truly be amazing. But, must I change the world in some important way?  Surely, there is something less I can do but still get the same results – right?

If only wishing made it so, but it doesn’t. 

Looking for exceptions to what’s been proven to work seems to be the norm.  However, those who go around constantly searching for exceptions to validate reasons why the disciplined hard work that has made others successful won’t work for them will, in my experience, only find one overriding truth–the exceptional people who have achieved success through consistent, disciplined action are, in fact, the only real exceptions to the norm..

Have you seen people like I’m describing here?  If so, tell us the story.   I can’t be the only person who sees this… right?

 

Never Struggle to Remember a Name Again!

The simple fact is, if you want to get good at networking you need to get good at remembering people’s names.  However, we all know that’s much easier said than done . . .

Niiraj Shah, one of the world’s leading experts on business networking started off years ago going to networking events and struggling to remember any given person’s name minutes after he’d met them.  He knew he needed to so something to change this if he wanted to become a successful networker so after giving it a significant amount of thought, he came up with an extremely effective 3-step process that has forever solved the problem he had with remembering names.

Watch this video where Niiraj shares his simple, 3-step secret to remembering people’s names.  Then, try it out and come back and leave a comment to let us know what kind of results you ended up with . . . my guess is you’ll be extremely impressed with how well this works!

Position Yourself as an Expert by Becoming an Author

Years ago, an associate of mine who read one of my books and attended some of my training sessions called me and said, “I really love your material, but why don’t you put more emphasis on your ideas about ‘creating your identity as a brand’ and how it affects your networking efforts?  These ideas have made a huge impact on my business, but I don’t hear you talking about it very often.”

I admitted that this associate of mine was right.  I haven’t talked a lot about identity in my material, and I agree that I should say more.

When I started my first business decades ago, I had no idea how important it was to focus on branding my company and myself in the marketplace as a way of enhancing my networking efforts.  I understood the concept from an advertising and marketing perspective, but with a small business I didn’t have the advertising budget to mold myself or my company into any kind of brand—at least, that’s what I thought at the time.  So I ignored it.  I realized later that I’d made a big mistake in not pursuing any strategies to brand my identity.  It wasn’t until the early ’90s that I started to think about branding and how it would help in my networking efforts.

Networking is all about relationships.  Relationships are about establishing credibility.  Credibility takes time.  What I needed to do was expedite that process as much as possible while still creating genuine credibility in the marketplace at large.  Not having much of a budget, I had to get creative about how I would make this happen. 

I saw that if I wanted to increase my visibility and enhance my credibility in the community, I needed to be viewed as the local expert.  The way I decided to start creating that brand was to begin writing articles.  Now, you may say, “What’s so special about that idea?  I’ve heard people suggest it before.”  Well, here’s the bottom line: hearing it and doing it tend to be very different things.

You can derive the same identity-building, brand-boosting benefit from writing articles as I did.  It may surprise you, but editors and reporters need good story ideas and will use them wherever they can find them.  Think about the things you know and understand best.  What elements of that knowledge might be of interest to the general public, a specific industry, or some targeted demographic?  Review the types of media outlets that write for your chosen audience.  Consider newspapers, magazines, and industry journals, but also take a good look at online opportunities such as e-zines, online newsletters, and information sites.

Either by phone or letter, tell the editor why readers will be interested in the feature idea you have or why it is newsworthy.  What are you doing in your business that strikes a chord in the community?  What can you share that will educate the editor’s readers?  A word of caution, though:  too many people who seek to be featured in newspapers or magazines send the equivalent of a company brochure.  They fail to realize that editors and reporters need hooks, angles, ways to relate to a distracted, overworked, frenzied readership. 

Guided by the Certified Networker training I developed for the Referral Institute, the associate of mine that I mentioned earlier chose a topic he knew about and worked with it for some time.  He is in the travel industry, so he wrote a series of articles about travel and sent them to various outlets each month for several months.  He received some responses—all “No, thank you”—until, finally, one local newspaper called him and said they’d like to use his piece in the next day’s edition.  After it came out, they contacted him again and asked if he’d like to do a monthly piece.  Before long, another media outlet saw his work and asked him if he’d like to write for them.

Today he writes regular articles for several media outlets.  More importantly, it has totally changed his business.  Although many travel companies are going out of business due to vast changes in the industry, he is actually growing and thriving, because his articles have created an identity or brand for him and the company he owns.  Moreover, he is still an active networker, and he notes that the articles he writes put him way above his competition by enhancing his credibility with the people he meets.  He capitalizes on this regularly by bringing his recent articles to networking meetings.

This businessman’s experience serves as a great example of what’s possible for your own networking efforts.  When you get some of your pieces published, promote themThey won’t necessarily increase your sales overnight, but they will greatly enhance your credibility throughout the networking process, which absolutely increases your sales over time.  My friend also told me that he now includes links on his website to some of the online articles he produces as a way of enhancing his credibility with existing and potential clients.

So, if this is such a great idea, why haven’t I said more about it in the past?  Well, in my book Masters of Success, I talk about success being the “uncommon application of common knowledge.”  If you ask a successful person the secret of his success, you will almost never hear a secret!  Writing articles regularly and continually to increase your credibility and enhance your networking opportunities is not a secret.  It’s simply an idea that most people are just too lazy to implement. 

The bottom line is, 98 percent of people won’t actually do it.  Or, they’ll do it for a little while and give up.  The associate that encouraged me to talk more about this strategy agreed, but he said, “Do it for the 2 percent of people like me who will apply the idea.  It will make a difference for them, as it did for me.”

If you believe you can stick with this strategy over time, sit down and jot out topics of four articles you could write that fit with your business and networking goals—and that you believe would serve the readers of a particular publication.  Then, draft a letter addressed to the editor of that publication, and pitch your ideas.  If he says yes, it’s time to start writing!  If the answer is no, consider following up with him to determine what kinds of articles would better fit his needs.  

Well, there you go.  That’s a lot of advice and my associate should be happy that I took his good suggestion to talk more about branding for the 2 percent of people that will follow through.  So, the question now is: Are you part of the 2 percent or the 98 percent?  It’s your choice.

Susan RoAne Shares One of “The Secrets of Savvy Networking”

When it comes to networking, we’ve all unfortunately encountered people who believe that the simple act of meeting another person entitles them to ask that other person to share their contacts with them in order to try to drum up more referrals.

In this video, Susan RoAne, my good friend and an international networking expert who consistently puts out some of the most outstanding content on networking around, explains why anybody who believes that networking is an “entitlement program” (i.e., the type of people who meet you once and think you should share your contacts with them) is completely off track and will never get any referrals while operating under that perception.

The concept that networking is an “enrichment program” as opposed to an “entitlement program” is one of the fresh, powerhouse ideas unique to Susan’s latest book The Secrets of Savvy Networking.  I highly encourage you to go to www.SecretsOfSavvyNetworking.com to learn about the book and/or visit www.SusanRoAne.com for more information about Susan Roane.

Share your feedback on Susan’s content and/or your thoughts about this video in general in the comments section–we’d love to hear from you!

Using the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange to Connect More Effectively

Sometimes one of the most difficult parts of networking is getting the conversation started and really engaging people so they are genuinely interested in talking and networking with you.

In this short video, Penny Georgevich explains how to effectively connect with people by using the G.A.I.N.S. (Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, Skills) Exchange (also referred to as the G.A.I.N.S. Profile)–particularly when it comes to the are of “Interests.”

If you’ve used the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange as a tactic when networking, please share your experience with it in the comments section–how effective did you find it to be?

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