quality

Quantity is Good but Quality is King

The more people you meet at an event, the more successful your networking efforts are–and that’s simply not the case.  Instead, the quality of the connections you form is much more significant than the quantity of connections you make.

A few years ago, I had a long conversation with a good friend who was considered a networking expert in Europe.  He did a lot of work with online networking or social networking.  During this conversation, we got into a fundamental disagreement on the subject.  He believed that networking was first and foremost a numbers game.  He said that “the more people you were connected to the stronger your network.”  At first, I went along with this comment agreeing that the number of people in your network was in fact, very important.  I then said, “the only thing more important than the quantity of people was the quality of people in your network.”  Suddenly, our paths diverged.  He said the “quality of people in your network are really not that important, instead it is all a numbers game.” 

To this day, I steadfastly disagree.  Networking is not a numbers game.  It’s more like a people puzzle.  It’s about building relationships with the close people in your network.  That means that it’s about finding ways to interconnect the relationships you have to build a powerful personal network.  In order to do that – you actually have to have a fair number of quality relationships in that sea of contacts.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be successful.

Instead, your network needs to be both wide and – in places, deep.  That is, you need to have a wide set of contacts but some of those need to be connections that go deep.  Therefore, the quality of your network is just as important, if not more important than the quantity of your network.  This doesn’t mean that quantity isn’t important.  It is important.  The thing is that a small network of quality people limits your success.  However, a large network with multiple quality relationships makes for a much more powerful, personal network.

It is a little like your left hand and your right hand.  Both are really important. But one is generally stronger, more powerful, and generally used more than the other. You can’t accomplish what you want as easily without both.  However, one is the stronger hand.  This is similar to the quantity vs. quality argument in networking.

I believe that it is NOT, what you know, or who you know – it’s how well you know each other that counts.

Strong relationships take simple “contacts” and turn them into powerful “connections.”  It doesn’t really matter if I have an amazing database of people with many phone numbers.  What really matters is if I can pick up the phone and ask some of them for a favor and they take my call then are willing to do that favor.

By the way, since that argument a few years ago, my friend is no longer in the networking business.  Quantity is good but quality truly is King.

Summertime Networking

Summertime Networking

The temperature is rising and so are your networking opportunities!

Every once in a while I hear a BNI member say that their chapter slows down during the summer months. I also know of many chapters that flourish in the summer with new members and referral growth! So why are some up and some down? It is a matter of gearing towards the season.

In the Northern Hemisphere, winter coats sell better in December than July and bathing suits sell better in June than January! So have you changed your networking season?

What summertime networking activities are you attending? These may not seem like a networking mixer events, however, you should still always be prepared.

… BBQ?

… Pool Party?

… Picnic?

… Golf… Boating… Tennis… Gardening?

Pool Party Networking:

Remember that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionately! Listen to what everyone is really saying.

– Are they complaining about business?  Invite them to visit your BNI chapter!

– Are they excited about a wedding?  Share about those in your chapter that are a good referral for them!

– Do they have a frozen drink in their hand complaining about staying cool at home? Talk about your HVAC member!

– Do they need work on their home or need a new home? It’s Referral time!

– Are they talking about the stock market? Mention your BNI financial planner!

Ball Game Networking:

A great networking strategy is to get tickets to a ball game and invite a BNI member and a potential referral. Whether your team wins or loses great connections can be made from the stands!

Above is a photo of me with the ceremonial ball from when I did the first pitch for an AA Baseball team in LA.  It was BNI night and we had a blast with members and staff from Southern California.

The FOUR hour one to one:

If you are a golfer, you know what I mean! Find a fellow BNI Member who also plays golf. Set up a round and you each bring a client to introduce to each other. What a great way to solidify a top referral source! Do you not play golf? Is there an activity like bowling that you do that you and a fellow member can invite clients too?

Any place you go with family, friends or strangers is a networking opportunity!

… Bring your business cards!

… Remember your fellow members’ cards too!

The GOAL?

… One referral per event you attend!

… Who have you met at these summertime events that you can invite to your chapter as a visitor?

Here’s to a GREAT summer in the Northern Hemisphere filled with lots of referrals! Those BNI Members south of the Equator can wait to use these tips in December.

 

Strategic Alliances

Strategic Alliances

A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two companies that have decided to share resources to undertake a specific, mutually beneficial project. With strategic alliances, each member will contribute to your success. No one person is likely to turn your business around, but together, over a long time, they can make a difference. By having a series of small actions over time, you can gradually enhance your relationships and really yield big results

Don’t give up if there’s no immediate payoff. The key is to stay in touch. The best strategic alliances stay connected several times over the year. Plus, you meet in person on several occasions. During that time, you discuss some really simple ways that you can help each other. Therefore, you gradually enhance the relationship.

Successful networking is a series of small actions. Most people who are successful at networking and creating strong strategic alliances view the process as a series of small actions taken with many people to create long-term positive growth for your company. It’s not a get rich scheme. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build your business. Don’t just write somebody off if they can’t add something or contribute something to your business immediately.

If you are a member of a networking group, look at the members of the group. Each of them will contribute to your success and they layer a little bit of success on top of each other for you. Each one is a little layer of success for you. No one person in your chapter is likely to turn your business around, but together over a long period of time; they can make a dramatic difference.

In conclusion, I highly recommend that you form strategic alliances with others. By working with multiple people over a long period of time, you build an incredibly solid foundation for successful business.

characteristic

The Least Important Networker Characteristic

What is the least important characteristic for a great networker?

The answer might surprise you.

In this video, I share the five least important skills for networking according to a survey of 3400 business people. Knowing what not to do can be as important as knowing what to do. Furthermore, it is also clear from these results that great networkers and great salespeople have different skill sets.

In conclusion, many people think you need to be an extrovert to be a good networker, but that’s not what the survey says. Here are five least important skills for networking.

You don’t need to be:

  1. Fearless
  2. A salesperson
  3. A self-promoter
  4. Direct
  5. Social media savvy

Click here to watch this video

Networking

Four Tips for Networking at Non-Networking Events

You can network anywhere, including events where it might not at first occur to you to try it—and, paradoxically, it’s at these non-traditional networking settings where you’ll get the most bang for your buck. Why? Because not many people think of it. You’ve got the field to yourself, with many opportunities to develop lasting relationships with potential referral partners.

  1. Person-to-Person

What non-traditional settings are we referring to? Well, everybody goes to parties, and the holiday season is full of them. It’s also a business slowdown season for many of us who are not in retail. But networking is not just a New Year’s Day to Thanksgiving activity—it’s year-round. Holiday parties and other social mixers bring new opportunities to network, even more than the rest of the year.

When we tell people this, we usually get strange looks. They think of boorish sharpies selling time-shares to your aunt and uncle at your grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary or trying to round up business at funerals. But networking is not just trying to sell something or passing business referrals; it’s building meaningful relationships and social capital. Master networkers understand this. That’s why they’re always networking.

You’re already in a relationship with everybody you know. The only question is how developed that relationship is. Is it a relationship of visibility, in which you know each other but haven’t had dealings? Is it credibility, in which you’ve interacted enough to establish a degree of mutual trust? Or has it deepened over time to the point of profitability, with both parties receiving mutual benefits as a result of assistance, business referrals, or other interactions?

In today’s environment, it’s easy for us to lose that personal touch when we do so much of our communicating via email and cell phone. The fact is, most relationships develop through physical presence in one-to-one interactions and get stronger every time we meet face to face. The holidays are times when we are more likely to see people in a social setting, and this setting definitely lends itself to building relationships. There are, however, some things that are important when networking at a holiday social—or at any event, for that matter.

  1. How Can I Help?

“Givers Gain” is the number one rule to remember. You should always be thinking: How can I help this person? Many of us know this and try to apply it to our relationships, but we’re more inclined to do it instinctively with those in the profitability category. How can we apply it to the relationships that are in the visibility and credibility categories?

At a social event, you ask somebody, “How’s it going?” What’s the typical reply? Probably something like, “Great, things couldn’t be better.” That’s a canned response that people give because they want to be polite and because they know nobody really wants to hear their troubles…but it’s not usually the whole truth.

Things can always be better—that is, there are surely ways you can help—but most of people aren’t inclined to go into detail or let others know what’s going on, especially at social events. The best way to find out is to avoid generalities like “How are things?” Ask more specific questions.

In a conversation I had recently, I asked an individual how things were going and got the standard answer that things were great, the company was expanding, and business better than expected. My next question was “Are you hitting all of your goals?” Yes, the business was exceeding all of its goals by a large margin.

Sounds like this person didn’t need any help, you say? On the contrary: to me it sounded like a big opportunity. Think about it: a company that was expanding faster than the owner projected. What kind of help might it need?

Many consider networking just another way to get clients, but when you think in terms of building relationships, a chance to help is a big opportunity. That help can be provided in many forms, each as valuable as the next.

In this case I was able to make some introductions that the individual was very grateful for. But it was only after getting past the generalities that I was able to figure this out.

Always plan on maximizing your networking productivity during the holiday season. Remember, networking means developing relationships, and the holidays are filled with opportunity.

  1. Be Sincere

If you’re networking successfully at a non-networking event, people won’t even know it. You’re genuinely looking for ways to help other people, and your concern for the person you’re talking with is plainly apparent. Anyone who is networking exclusively for personal gain comes across as shallow and insincere.

A good networker doesn’t have to work at sincerity. She really cares about making connections for others, not just for herself. Some people are so accomplished and successful at networking that they are able to network virtually anywhere. No one minds your using an opportunity to share information that will benefit others, even when that exchange takes the form of a business card at a bar mitzvah.

  1. Honor the Event

This one should be a no-brainer, but we all know some scorched-earth, overzealous networkers who trawl the room at a party in pursuit of a sale, any sale. They may do the same, less blatantly, at family and purely social events, but this is still the exact opposite of what networking is all about. Remember, relationships are the name of the game. Socials are a great place to get visibility and credibility, so focus on building these aspects of relationships.

LCD's

Specific is Terrific with LCD’s

Weekly networking presentations with LCD’s

It is very important to be prepared to introduce yourself by breaking down your business into your LCD’s (Lowest Common Denominators). Each week, create a business educational curriculum to train your sales force to focus on just ONE aspect of your business.

For example, each week just focus on:

– A service
– A product
– A benefit

When you want to nail a presentation, start by explaining your lowest common denominators, or the most immediate, universal value of your business. Your LCD is your secret weapon.

Click on the graphic below, or click here, to see this video. Learn more about developing this training approach for your weekly presentations.

Apron

Put On An Apron.

There were a fair number networking groups around when I started BNI in 1985.  However, they were either really mercenary or too social.  I knew the only way BNI could stand out as a networking organization is by having a genuine focus on giving first and getting second.

Years ago, a brand new BNI member shared with his local BNI Director that he had just had an epiphany.  “You know,” he said, “this whole concept of Givers Gain, and helping other businesses so they help you, it’s a little bit like taking off your bib and putting on an apron. I have lived my profes­sional career trying to find ways to close deals and get what I want in business by having others help me. I think I’ve missed the point. Networking is really about trying to find ways to help other people. You take off that bib and put on an apron, you help others and they will help you.”

When I started BNI, I focused the meetings on building relationships by helping others first and that’s what the philosophy “Givers Gain” is all about. This philosophy is a standard that we should all apply to ourselves and how we behave with other people, not a stick we use to get someone to do something we think they should be doing. If you bring in other people into your network who embrace and employ this core value, you will create an amazing and powerful network.  Therefore, take off that bib and put on an apron!

 

 

Four Behavioral Styles

The Four Behavioral Styles (the video)

There are Four Behavioral Styles you will find in others when you are networking. Do you know your behavioral style? Please watch this video to learn about these different styles.

In the book Room Full of Referrals which I co-wrote with Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we offer insight into the following four different behavioral styles:

Go-Getters: (Driven, Bold, Decisive, Strong Desire to Lead)

Promoters:   (Energetic, Outgoing, Fun-Loving, Positive, Talkative)

Nurturers:   (Patient, Helpful, Understanding, Sentimental, Reserved)

Examiners:   (Effective, Efficient, Thorough, Research-Oriented)

If you pay careful attention to the behavioral characteristics of others, you will improve how you communicate with them effectively by adapting to their style.

Behavioral Profiles

Understanding Behavioral Profiles

I’m looking forward to presenting “Behavioral Styles in Networking” next week on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 from Noon to 1pm EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME as part of @BNI – The World’s Leading Referral Organization’s #BusinessBuilders webinar series.

Register here:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8829787935322540548

Understanding behavioral profiles is essentially about understanding the four different styles of behavior when looking at individuals.  It  is an excellent way to gain knowledge about how to craft your sales and reporting program to the style of communication most comfortable to the client as well as how to best connect with your fellow networkers.  All customers and all networkers like to be communicated with in a manner that is most familiar to them, and knowing their personality profiles/behavioral styles helps you customize a sales or networking approach for each unique individual.

RFORBlog

In the book Room Full of Referrals which I co-wrote with Dr. Tony Alessandra and Dawn Lyons, we offer insight into the following four different behavioral styles:

Go-Getters: (Driven, Bold, Decisive, Strong Desire to Lead)

Promoters:   (Energetic, Outgoing, Fun-Loving, Positive, Talkative)

Nurturers:   (Patient, Helpful, Understanding, Sentimental, Reserved)

Examiners:   (Effective, Efficient, Thorough, Research-Oriented)

If you pay careful attention to the behavioral characteristics of others, you will improve how you communicate with them effectively by adapting to their style.

Join me on my webinar next week to learn more about these traits.

 

Top Characteristics

The Top Characteristics of a Great Networker (pt 2)

Recently, I took the opportunity to gather almost 3,400 survey responses from business people around the world.   I gave them a list of almost 20 different characteristics on networking and I asked them to pick the top behaviors they’d like to see.  From those responses, I have identified the top characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker and have listed them here. Each one of the characteristics below ties into the notion of “farming” not “hunting.”  It’s about building mutually beneficial business relationships. Only then will you succeed in creating a powerful, personal network.

  1. Sincere/Authentic. You can offer the help, the thanks, the listening ear, but if you are not sincerely interested in the other person, they will know it!  Those who have developed successful networking skills convey their sincerity at every turn.  One respondent stated that “it’s all about the authenticity” that someone shows you.  We have all seen people who are seemingly good at networking but lack sincerity.  Faking it isn’t sustainable.
  1. Follows Up. If you offer opportunities, whether a simple piece of information, a special contact, or a qualified business referral, to someone who consistently fails to follow up, you’ll soon stop wasting your time with this person.  One respondent said that when it comes to networking, “the fortune lies in the follow up” and many people just “don’t follow up anymore.”
  1. Trustworthy. One respondent said best when she said: “it doesn’t matter how successful the person is, if I don’t trust them, I don’t work with them. When you refer someone you are putting your reputation on the line. You have to be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return. Neither you nor anyone else will refer a contact to someone who can’t be trusted to handle it well.
  1. Approachable. One respondent said that people “will forget what you said and what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel”. Effective networking starts with approachability – everything else listed above follows from this.

As a young man, I studied under Warren Bennis, who was at the time, the world’s leading expert on leadership.  He taught me that understanding the “characteristics” of a great leader is important.  However, what is even more important, is understanding how to apply those characteristics.  He told me; “know what you are good at and work to enhance those skills.  Know what you’re not good at and surround yourself with people who can help you improve those skills”. 

As with leadership, I believe that networking skills are very important.  What’s even more important, however, is working to improve them and learning how to use them effectively.  That’s what really counts.

What are the Top Three Characteristics?

Check out my blog from January for the top three characteristics of what people believe makes a great networker.

The Top Characteristics of a Great Networker (pt 1)

Stay in Touch

7 Strategies to Stay in Touch

Stay in touch and start today by touching someone…

If you want to connect or reconnect with others, do what is best for you, but go to where these people want to meet with you.

Dr. Ivan Misner shares how you can stay or get back in touch with people. Don’t be a cave dweller. Please watch this video

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
1 2 3 4 29
   Follow Me

Get every new post delivered to your inbox