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Networking Fundamentals

Networking Fundamentals

Have you ever wondered what the ONE secret to success is in regard to networking for your business? In this video, I reveal the answer to that very question and I also explain four key networking fundamentals which are guaranteed to boost your bottom line.

In order to be successful in building relationships that will lead to business referrals and opportunities, there are four things you need to focus on:

  1. Be selective.

Quality is first on the list for a reason. The process begins by being very selective about who you bring into your circle of business networking relationships. You want your network to include quality business professionals who have a positive, supportive attitude. You also want people who are good at what they do.

Effective networking is dependent on the quality of the relationships you develop. If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, you won’t be getting the referrals you expect. Therefore, it is important to build meaningful relationships with your referral partners over an extended period of time if you want to generate more business.

  1. Continuously add people to your network.

Years ago, I learned that there is a dramatic correlation between the size of a quality group and the number of referrals that are generated by that group.

In your network, the number of possible business referral connections is a squared multiple of the actual number of people in your network. So as you begin to build your own network of referral relationships, keep in mind that the more, the better. The bottom line is that the greater the number of connections you have (based on quality relationships of course), the more referrals you can generate. The math is pretty significant and consistent.

  1. Seek engagement.

Engagement involves a promise and an action. In order to achieve success in your networking relationships, you and your contacts must promise to support one another and take the actions necessary to fulfill that promise.

There are many ways that you can become engaged. Have you taken the time to regularly meet with the people in your network? Have you educated them on the key features of your business so that your products or services will be top-of-mind as they meet others who have a need for them? Have you educated yourself on the key features of their businesses so that you can do the same?

The greater the number of people in your network engaged in these activities, the more likely they will be to generate significant referrals. The reason for this is a shared vision of success and a shared implementation of that vision.

  1. Share stories.

Listening closely to information shared by those in your referral network will help you tell positive stories about them when you see potential opportunities to refer them. Holding regular meetings with contacts in your network will help you tell stories when you give referrals and vice versa.

A good story compels people to take action. If you want to build your network in order to generate more referrals, place story-telling at the top of your efforts. Facts tell, but stories sell.

“Can't do” or “Won’t do”

Helping others depends on either a “Can’t do” or “Won’t do” answer

Whatever the issues are that are holding someone back, focus on a constructive approach. If you ask them, “How can we help you?”, their answer will always be either a “can’t do” or “won’t do” answer. The person will either explain why they are having difficulty with the situation because they don’t know how to address it effectively, or they will give an answer that illustrates that they don’t really want to do this for some reason or another.

How to handle a “Can’t do” answer

Once there was a printer that was dead last on P.A.L.M.S. report in a local BNI group. We did not tell him that he was dead last. Instead, we asked him, “How can we help you?” His response was that his print shop was new and he admitted that he did not understand networking. This is a classic “Cant’ Do” response. It is our job to teach them because we were all a “can’t do” when we first started networking. We all make tons of mistakes. When someone says they can’t do something, they are open to being coached. It is our job to teach them.  If we were just negative and told the printer he was dead last, he would have quit. Instead, if we pour into them and help them, they become champions in BNI.

Where the clients come into the lobby area of the print shop, we recommended that he put up a sign where everyone could see it with slots for the BNI members’ business cards. He was instructed to get 20 copies of everyone business cards to fill sign with only the cards from BNI members. When someone took a card, they were told to say that Bob’s printing referred you. If someone not in BNI wanted to give him their cards for the sign, the printer was instructed to invite them to the next BNI meeting instead. True story! Nobody just took a card and left. They asked Bob his opinion on each of these. He gave a testimonial with everyone he had cards for. He went from last to number one in giving the most referrals. He went from being embarrassed to the top referral giver within 6 months. He was the winner of the year. He now loves BNI. We changed his business by coaching him.

How to handle a “Won’t do” answer

In this example, they give excuses: it’s too difficult… they are busy…I’m different. With a clear-cut “won’t do” answer, if you open the door for them they will leave on their own. I recommend saying, “I understand your frustration, it is ok to leave the group, feel free to come back if things change”. However, if you kick them out, they will become defiant and negative towards BNI. They blame the chapter and claim it is everyone fault. Therefore, if they don’t save face, they will fight you all the way. On the other hand, they don’t hate you if you give them the option to leave in a positive manner.

Here’s a suggestion. On rare, rare occasions – when someone is a “won’t do” but they don’t want to leave.  Tell them you appreciate their involvement and that you’ll throw them a “retirement party”. OK, not a real party – but recognize their past participation in the group and thank them for their involvement. This should be done rarely but it allows them to save face and leave. With this advice, you can cut down the percentage that will require a tough conversation by 90%. Then, only 10% of the time you need to have the tough talk about opening their classification and not renewing their membership. You want to be invested in their success, yet cut them loose when needed.

Being a member of the group is not enough.  If you are not contributing then why are you there? Being complacent is what I call a “MINO” (Member In Name Only). How can we help you to get more engaged? How can we help you to… bring more members? …bring more visitors? …bring more referrals? Whatever the issues are, just ask, “How can we help?” Their answer will tell you if you can help them.

define networking

How do you define “networking”?

The word “networking” has become so overused that some business professionals can no longer define networking. Many people think that networking is attending social or business after-hour events, shaking a few hands, collecting a few cards, and, of course, giving away a few cards of their own. Sadly, they actually believe that’s all there is to networking. To be fair, we could say they’re engaging in social networking. That’s never to be confused, however, with business networking.

Businesspeople tend to fall into one of two groups when it comes to their views of networking. For many, the current mind-set is that networking is a passive business strategy, not a proactive marketing tool. This attitude results in a scattered, often ineffective networking approach that consequently wastes the business owner’s time and money. Not surprisingly, when people feel they’ve been wasting their time and money on something, they’re understandably not going to continue that activity.

On the other hand, some proprietors do consider networking a proactive marketing tool for their business. How can you tell? They make it a significant part of their marketing and business plans. They have networking goals. They may even have a budget line item for networking. Most importantly, they practice it and live it every day. They are training a sales force. Their networking team is there to keep an eye out for potential clients. If you “target talk”, that is, hone in on exactly what type of client you are looking for, better, more qualified referrals will result.

Which view do you take?

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: R is for… (by Andy Lopata) [PART 1]

This month, Andy Lopata shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “R”

  • Realistic
  • Reciprocal
  • Recognize
  • Recommendation
  • Referrals
  • Relationships
  • Reliability
  • Reputation
  • Research
  • Resonate
  • Results
  • ROI

and more about Networking in PART 2: coming soon

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

http://ivanmisner.com/category/a-to-zs-of-networking/

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “N” list or any additional “N” words about “Networking” you will want to add to the list. please leave me a “Note” as a “Comment”  below.

Andy Lopata

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

college graduates

Five tips for new college graduates to find a job through networking

It’s graduation season. However, the majority of soon-to-be college graduates don’t have a job lined up. The New York Post reported that a study conducted by GoDaddy found that only 40% of college seniors have lined up a job and another 30% don’t even believe there are any jobs out there for them. So many new grads are still looking for employment because many of them are doing it the wrong way. They are unprepared because we don’t teach networking in colleges and Universities. Networking is still the best way to land a job. According to PayScale.com, over 85% of all high-end jobs are found through networking.

I thought I would share five tips on how new graduates (or even seasoned professionals) can find a new job if they are looking for employment.

Networking

Follow a lead when you get it but focus on getting a referral. A lead is merely a contact but a referral is about a relationship. Desperation is not referable. Since you’ll be depending on your network to speak highly of you to their hiring manager and contacts, practice confidently touting your skills. Reach out to friends, family and business contacts in person, on LinkedIn and via social media to tell them exactly what kind of position you’re looking for. Ask if they can check for any upcoming openings and keep you in mind.

Mentoring

Every college grad should find a mentor in their profession.  Know how to ask.  Don’t lead with “will you be my mentor.”  Instead, ask them if they are willing to give you some advice.  Tell them you are not looking for anything from them but advice. DON’T PITCH to them.

Checking

Image-check your social media profiles. They are looking! Potential employers will search about you online. Your social media presence could be hurting your chances of landing a job. Take down all your posts of your wild parties and remove any posts that you think don’t represent you appropriately to an employer. You won’t want to make those who have referred you to look bad if they stick their neck out and recommend you.  I was once considering hiring someone and I checked out his Facebook page.  OMG!  He threw out the “F” bomb time after time on his posts.  In addition, he posted widely inappropriate comments and tirades about people.  He was not the kind of influence I wanted in my office.

Strategizing

Determine where you stand with these contacts. Whether they are active, passive, or dormant will determine the strategy. Active; pick up the phone and ask for assistance.  There’s a relationship.  They will most likely love to help. Passive; set an appointment to reconnect (preferably in person).  Find out about them and let them know you’re looking for something.  Dormant; reconnect by social media or email.  Just talk.  Don’t ask for anything – yet.  Stay in touch, build the relationship before you ask.

Visiting

Visit organizations in the industry you want. Network right there, on the ground. Check in at the front desk, drop your resume off in-person and ask to meet with the HR director. Better yet, find out if someone in your network can connect you to a current employee in that company. Contact them through the referral.  Meet them for coffee and come prepared.

Your network is the lifeblood of your career.  Don’t let it die of professional loneliness.  Learn how to network your way into a job.

Share this with anyone you know who is looking for employment.

12x12x12

So what is the 12x12x12 rule?

In the second edition of our book “Networking like a Pro” I share the 12x12x12 rule and how it makes networking more effective!

1) How do you look from 12 feet away?

LOOK THE PART BEFORE GOING TO THE EVENT

Are you prepared, have you dressed appropriately for the event you are attending? Do you have what you need for the event? Preparing in advance by researching the dress code for the event, knowing what time to turn up and what you need to bring with you can make you much more comfortable about walking into a room. You will be surprised how many people fall short in the fundamental area of appearance. Do not go casual. Instead, consider wearing a good suit or nice outfit.

2) How do you come across from 12 inches away?

MAKE SURE YOUR BODY LANGUAGE SENDS THE RIGHT MESSAGE

Do you still look as prepared? Do you understand the culture of the event you are attending? Are your clothes clean, is your breath fresh? This may not seem important however you don’t want to be the one remembered for not ironing your shirt or having bad breath! When it comes to forming networking relationships, most of the important information is communicated through nonverbal cues. Remember to smile when meeting someone for the first time.

ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING

When meeting someone for the first time, a lot can be said about how much your attitude can impact the first impression. Having a positive attitude is one of the most important characteristics of a great networker. So make sure that when you are talking to others, you have a positive, upbeat attitude. Showing others that you are having a good time will send the right message.

GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER

Can you easily find your business cards? Make sure you look professional at all times, have your business cards to hand when you need them and ensure you know when is the best time to hand over your cards. Just make sure that you have a system for keeping your cards separate from the cards you receive from others at the event.

3) What are the first 12 words out of your mouth?

HAVE YOUR INTRODUCTION READY TO ROLL OFF YOUR TONGUE

This is the most important point. When someone asks you what you do, make sure you are ready with a response that is memorable. Have you thought about what you are going to say to someone else at a networking event because the worst time to think about what you want to say is when you are saying it? Think about concise ways you can get your points across…… what you want to say about your business, your target market, the benefits of your product or service etc. Think about examples of projects you are working on or stories about how you helped clients. Be confident and speak with conviction. Say something that promotes curiosity and engagement without sounding over-rehearsed or contrived. Those 12 words are designed to get people’s attention.

Perception is reality when it comes to meeting people for the first time. So next time you are going to a networking event, hold yourself accountable to follow the 12x12x12 rule. You will go a long way toward creating the right impression. Find out more about this topic in my book, “Networking Like a Pro: Turning Contacts into Connections – Second Edition“. Please go to my website at http://ivanmisner.com/books/ to learn how to purchase any of my books.

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: P is for… (by Andy Lopata) [PART 2]

This month, Andy Lopata shares more networking tips which begin with the letter “P”

  • Panglossian
  • Passion
  • Presence
  • Presumptions
  • Proactive

and more about Networking in P – PART 1 : CLICK HERE

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

http://ivanmisner.com/category/a-to-zs-of-networking/

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “P” list or any additional “P” words about networking you will want to add to the list. please leave me a  “Comment”  below.

Andy Lopata

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: P is for… (by Andy Lopata) [PART 1]

This month, Andy Lopata shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “P”

  • Partnership
  • Patient
  • Persistent
  • Personable
  • Planning
  • Polite
  • Powerful
  • Preparation
  • Professionalism
  • Promises
  • Purpose

and more about Networking in PART 2: coming soon

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

http://ivanmisner.com/category/a-to-zs-of-networking/

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “N” list or any additional “N” words about “Networking” you will want to add to the list. please leave me a “Note” as a “Comment”  below.

Andy Lopata

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

Paul Furlong

Planning Your Networking (by Paul Furlong)

Paul Furlong shares his networking tips in this video.

Most people are disappointed with their networking results at networking events because they did not have a clear strategy for how they were going to be networking. Paul Furlong, BNI Director Consultant, shares his networking strategy questions:

There are so many different networking events. It is important to decide which ones should attend. Use the following questions to help you to decide which events to attend.

  1. Why do you want to go to networking events?
  2. How are you going to network?
  3. What are you going to do to build the relationships with those you meet at the networking event?
  4. Do you know the type of businesses are you wanting to network with?
  5. What networking events do these businesses you want to meet attending?

Now that you have decided which event to attend, here are a few tips on how to network at the event.

  1. Ask the host for a list of who is attending to determine who to approach.
  2. Determine if they are in it for the long term relationship you desire or if they are only transactional when you meet them.
  3. Be prepared to network with your business cards, brochure, and appointment calendar.
  4. Talk as little as you can about your business and ask them what is currently happening in their work.
  5. Share a succinct story if asked about how you help others and share who are your ideal referrals.
  6. Schedule a second meeting to follow-up and learn more about each other.
  7. Send an email after the event to confirm the second meeting and thank them for meeting with you.

Rule the World

Great story-telling is essential to effectively communicate your ideas in order to inspire and influence your audience. In this show, Paul Furlong, Creative Director at Opus Media, deconstructs world-class story-tellers from all echelons of society. Digging deep, Paul attempts to find the recurring and unique principles they use to help you make your stories more engaging and better communicate your ideas to stimulate your audience to take action.

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/rule-the-world-the-art-power-of-storytelling/id1164974213?mt=2

Andy Lopata

The A-Z of Networking: O is for… (by Andy Lopata)

This month, Andy Lopata shares his networking tips which begin with the letter “O”

  • Oasis
  • Obligations
  • Observations
  • Offer Support
  • Open Heart and Minds
  • Openings
  • Opportunities
  • Optimizing Your Network
  • Organization
  • Owning The Space

and more about Networking.

Click here to watch this video

Please click below to see Andy’s playlist of his networking tips from A to Z.

http://ivanmisner.com/category/a-to-zs-of-networking/

By knowing why you are networking and what you want to achieve, it is possible to plan accordingly and get great, measurable results. If you have any comments about Andy’s “N” list or any additional “N” words about “Networking” you will want to add to the list. please leave me a “Note” as a “Comment”  below.

Andy Lopata

As a business networking strategist, Andy Lopata works with companies on how to use networking tools to develop their businesses. Networking is not just about sales. Whether for lead generation, breaking down silos internally, recruitment and retention of top staff or developing future leaders, networks and collaboration have a key role to play. Andy works with clients to help recognize that role and put the strategy and skills in place to leverage it.

Desperate Networkers

Four Desperate Networkers

Desperation is not referable. When people demonstrate certain behaviors as part of their networking efforts, it’s a tell-tale sign of desperation. Here are four types of behaviors that desperate networkers exhibit:

Click here to watch this video

The Card Dealer

This is probably the most common form of desperation that I’ve seen over the years. The Card Dealer is a person that darts around the room passing out cards like they’re at a poker table. They don’t spend time really getting to know anyone (unless they think they can get something from them). To the Card Dealer, networking is mostly a numbers game. The more people they can pass their cards to – the better they’re doing (or so they think). Card Dealers tend to have a network that is a mile wide but an inch deep because they don’t spend time building relationships. It never works in the long-run and they just look inexperienced, frazzled, and yes – desperate.

The Space Violator

Here’s the guy that thinks the closer he gets when he’s talking to you, the more you’ll be interested in what he’s saying. Nope. Not true. In fact, it has the opposite effect (especially if his breath has the aroma of a smelly camel). So, what’s the right distance to stand from someone without getting into their personal space? The answer to this question varies based on the cultural standards of the country you are in. In North America, it’s fairly common to have conversations at roughly “arm’s length” for people that you meet at a networking event. From my experience that distance is definitely less in some countries around the world. What’s also interesting is the issue of gender and personal space or “proxemics.” According to a “Journal of Psychology” study, “male-male pairs tend to interact at greater personal distances, whereas female-female pairs tend to interact closer.”

The Premature Solicitor

This is the person who confuses networking with direct selling. They meet you and immediately go into sales mode. They want you to do business with them without asking questions about you, your business, your interests, or your needs first. To this person, everyone is a target and every target is a dollar sign. These people are the reason why many individuals don’t like to go to networking events. They go to meetings and feel slimmed by people soliciting them for business. They leave the meeting and run home to get a shower.

The New Best Friend

Follow-up with the people you meet at a networking event is important. But be a professional – not a stalker. The New Best Friend is the over-eager seller who after you meet at a networking event – calls you, emails you, social media messages you, and tries to become your New Best Friend in the space of just a few days. Generally, they’re not actually trying to help you – they simply want to sell something to you. Granted, they may want to sell something to you because in their mind – it’s only to “help you,” but it’s never really about you. It’s about what they want from you. Desperation seeps from their pores. I’ve experienced this many times over my career. The one that stands out the most in my mind happened a couple years ago. I met a young man (late 20’s) at a networking event and he went right into “New Best Friend” mode – calling several times, emailing every day, messaging me on Facebook etc. But when he wrote me and said that he thought of himself like my son (yes, seriously – he said that) and he needed my help in his business venture – I had to pull the plug. I tried to pull it gently by talking about the importance of establishing credibility before pitching something and that the process of developing credibility takes time. Curiously, my “new son” abandoned me.

Desperation is not referable. Remember these behaviors when you go to networking events and whatever you do – don’t demonstrate these behaviors yourself. Remember that networking is more about farming, than it is about hunting.

Networking Up

Networking Up: Connecting with Successful People

We’ve all heard the advice: “you become the people you hang out with”. This means that you need to surround yourself with successful people (however you define success). Plus, you also need to be networking up to raise the bar for yourself over time. Having run the world’s largest business networking organization for more than three decades, one of the things I’ve learned is that: There’s generally room at the top.  It’s the bottom that’s really crowded.  So how do you start networking above your weight class to move your way up? Here are seven things I recommend that will help you accomplish that goal.

One of the most important endeavors for our professional success is also one of the most confusing and daunting for so many. That endeavor is “networking up” – connecting in a meaningful and memorable way with those who are at a higher level of success or whose influence and connection could potentially change everything for your business.

Finally, remember that if you’re always the most successful person in the room, you’re hanging out in the wrong rooms.  Take these five suggestions and start “networking up” to the right rooms.

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