Networking Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Body Language

The Four Body Language Factors When Networking

You could be unknowingly undermining your networking efforts through your body language. Body language can be extremely powerful when it comes to networking and building relationships with others. Within the first seven seconds of meeting you, people check you out visually. Therefore, it is important to know the four key body language factors to help you present yourself in the best way possible when networking.

Networking Body Language Factors

1. Eye contact. 

Are you making good eye contact throughout the conversation? Some of the most successful business leaders in the world are known for the impressions they make with their eye contact. Their gaze never wavers from the eyes of the person they are speaking with, making them feel as if they are the most important person in the room. They are not looking behind the person to whom they are speaking to see who else is in the room. With a little practice, anyone can do this.

2. Arm movement.

Everyone “talks” with their hands.  A good networker uses gestures that match their message well. However, poor networkers tend to make distracting gestures. It is important to pay attention to your hand gestures while you are networking. If you are speaking to someone and your arms are folded together, this gives the impression that you are not interested and bored with their conversation. Therefore, to give off a positive impression when networking, your arms should be tucked behind your back, indicating interest in the conversation.

3. Your stance.

Are you leaning on something, as if bored or tired? Make an effort to stand in a manner that is open and welcoming, rather than blocking people out of your conversation. Standing with your legs shoulder-width apart signals determination. However, shifting your weight from one foot to the other or rocking forward indicates that you are anxious or upset. Finally, we all tend to lean toward people we like and pull away from those we do not.

4. Facial expressions.

Your networking success rides on how you come across in that first encounter. You want people to perceive you as alert, interested, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. Every facial expression you make tells a story. Are you smiling and showing interest in the conversation? Yawning while someone is talking to you is a surefire way to shut them down immediately. I have seen this happen more times than I can count while observing conversations at networking events.

Two steps to ensure that you are making a positive impression:

  1. Look in the mirror before leaving the house and ask yourself: “What message am I sending to people meeting me for the first time? What opinions will they have of me before I even open my mouth?”
  2. Become more aware of your body language by getting feedback. What are you saying without speaking a word? Before you host your own event, take a trusted friend with you to a networking function and ask them to give you honest, direct feedback on your body language. Provide them with a small checklist of the four factors discussed above and be prepared for their honest insights.

If you are networking with new prospects, make sure that your body language is not discouraging people from approaching you.

hate

If You Hate Networking – Know This

The majority of businesspeople like to network as a powerful way to generate business. Therefore, if you hate networking, watch my doodle video.

People Hate to Network… Not!

Networking involves building a strong relationship. Furthermore, networking is not like “cold-calling”. Instead, it is a conversation with someone to build a relationship with them.

According to the research I did years ago for the book: Business Networking And Sex (not what you think)

  • 57% of the respondents were comfortable or loved networking
  • 37% of the respondents were somewhat comfortable networking
  • 6% of the respondents were uncomfortable or did not like networking

Why are the 6% of business people not networking as a way to grow their business? There are four reasons why people resist networking:

  • Frozen by their fear
  • Too busy at work
  • They are “hunting” for business
  • Not good listeners

Networking is indeed like farming. Commit to mastering what it takes to efficiently and effectively harness the potential in your “relationship crops” and you will reap a bountiful harvest of mutually satisfying relationships and sustainable growth in your business.

Networking is the process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community. It is a lot more interesting than cold-calling.

resist networking

Why People Resist Networking

Every year, people continue to resist networking even though successful people have used networking to grow their businesses. Networking provides a great return for a much smaller monetary investment as compared to the cost of traditional advertising. Why are so many business owners still not networking as a way to grow their business?

The four reasons why people resist networking

  • They are frozen by their fear

Having a fear of rejection keeps people from networking. The fear of interacting with strangers is paralyzing. Having low self-confidence, shyness, or an under-estimation of what they can contribute are reasons why they resist networking. Giving in to these fears is just plain bad for business.

  • They are too busy

Not having time to network is another excuse many people use as to why they are not networking. People believe that they are too busy already. They think that it is not worth the time or stress it takes to network. They resist networking because they believe that their current time obligations are more important. Being “too busy” is an excuse when people are not clear on their networking goals.

  • They are “hunting”

People resist networking because they expect immediate results. They are impatient and don’t understand the value of taking the time to build strong relationships first. “Hunters” want a quick sale as opposed to following up and establishing credibility over time with others. They do not follow up with the people they connect with and get no results.

  • They are talking more

People often resist networking because they pitch their sale in a room full of competition. I was at a big networking event with more than 500 people in the UK one year, and the person who spoke before me asked the audience: “How many of you came here hoping to do some business–maybe make a sale?”  More than half the people in the audience raised their hands. He then asked, “How many of you are here hoping to buy something?” No one raised a hand–not one single person! This is the networking disconnect and they are not listening.

The four reasons why successful people network

  • They are focused by their fear

Successful people are not blocked by fear. They are focused on meeting others when networking. Not only are they building their business visibility, but successful networkers also have a good time building new relationships with others.

  • They value their networking time

Successful people have clear networking goals. They know what they want to gain with their networking time. Successful networkers have learned that breaking out of their routine is an enriching experience. They have found ways to incorporate networking into their schedule.

  • They are “farming”

Networking is not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. Successful networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. We have to cultivate good relationships that pay us back over the long term, year after year. Networking works by building credibility with strong relationships.

  • They are listening more

Networking is not like “cold-calling.” It is not something you do to someone. It is something you do with them. Networking is a conversation. It involves more listening. Don’t forget that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and should use both of them proportionately.

Networking involves building a strong relationship. The first of the three phases of networking is visibility. You and other individuals become aware of each other. When networking, you become genuinely interested in the other person as you get to know each other. This interest in each other leads to credibility with each other. This credibility will build and will create opportunities over time to provide referrals. Those referrals will ultimately lead to profitability resulting from your networking efforts.

World of Thanks

A World of Thanks

Welcome to the 14th annual “International Networking Week®”. Held annually during the first week of February, organizations around the world celebrate the power of networking and recognition. “International Networking Week” is an initiative of BNI created 14 years ago. This week, we are promoting our theme, “A World of Thanks”, by asking you to share your stories of gratitude and appreciation for those who helped you to grow or maintain your business during the difficulties of the “Great Pause of 2020”.

Welcome to “International Networking Week”

Please share this video with your chapter members this week during your BNI meeting.

This is the perfect time to recognize someone and say “thank you” in appreciation for what they have contributed to your life and your business. Thank someone in person (or online) during your BNI meeting this week or at any networking event celebrating “International Networking Week”. Furthermore, consider posting a thank you message on social media using the hashtags #aWorldofThanks and #INW2021 with your post.

Video Contest Winner

Thank you to all that submitted your video entry for this contest. I am honored to announce that Paul Richardson of the BNI Crossroads Chapter is the winner of the 2021 “International Networking Week” Video Contest. Please take a moment and click here to watch this award-winning video of Paul thanking fellow BNI member Caroline Matte of the BNI Champlain Valley Chapter who made a difference in his life.  Paul will have his business, and his BNI chapter in Vermont, USA, featured globally on BNI’s social media pages and featured in SuccessNet™ this week.

A World of Thanks

In conclusion, I would like to end by thanking the following BNI leaders for writing guest blogs during International Networking Week for my website:

 Wishing everyone a fantastic International Networking Week® 2021!

 

Zoom

The 12x12x12 Zoom Rule

What is the 12x12x12 Zoom rule? In 2010, I introduced the original 12x12x12 rule when attending in-person networking events in my book, “Networking Like a Pro”. Ten years later, with all of us using our computers for online networking, I adapted the 12x12x12 rule in 2020 for Zoom.

What do you look like 12 feet around you?

Since everyone is broadcasting from home these days, it is important to pay attention to the setting of your personal meeting location. Make sure what people will see behind you is as professional as possible. Remove the visible clutter around you and close the door to keep your kids, or cats, from interrupting the call. If you are using a virtual background, choose something related to your industry. However, keep the background photo professional, like bookshelves or an office setting. Do not use a tropical beach background, unless you work on a beach or as a travel agent. Remember, your background says a lot about you. Hang a solid-colored green sheet behind you as an easy green screen when using a virtual Zoom background.

What do you look like 12 inches away from your web camera?

Have you dressed appropriately for the meeting? I mean, are you FULLY DRESSED for the meeting with both a professional top and bottom? Too many stories have been shared on the TV news about people getting up from their chairs and being caught in pajama pants, athletic shorts, or unfortunately even less. I’ve been known to wear sweat pants on camera but never wear something (or not wear enough) that would end up with you on the TV news. Make sure your hair is combed and you are not eating on camera. Plus, be prepared with a pen and notepad to take notes.

What are the first 12 words out of your mouth on Zoom?

This is the most important point. Have you thought about what you are going to say to someone else at a networking event? 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. Finally, use a microphone so that everyone can clearly hear you

Before you log in to your next online networking event or Zoom meeting, remember these tips, and verify that you are following the 12x12x12 Zoom rule. 

Ice Breaker

Small Talk: The Mighty Ice Breaker

One of the most important aspects of networking is the small talk that occurs at networking functions. The small talk acts as an ice breaker to open up the initial conversation between strangers. This initial conversation is important. It is the first opportunity to grow a mutual connection that may lead to future referrals.

Locubrevisphobia

This big word is the fear of making small talk, often resulting in the sufferer avoiding social and networking events. Many people simply dread the thought of having to carry on conversations with people they do not know. It is easy to label these people as shy. However, only a small minority of people are too shy to enjoy talking with others. Most people are not afraid to talk; they are just intimidated by the task of finding something to talk about.

For this reason, business owners need to stay on top of pop culture and current events. The latest issues and stories in the news are great ways to break the ice and help you find common ground with a person you may never have met before and with whom you may not have much in common. But with the media explosion, it’s increasingly difficult to have a firm grasp on water-cooler talk, particularly when it comes to conversations with people in different age brackets. So, how do you start — and maintain — a conversation at a networking or other event with someone you don’t know at all?

Just ask questions as an ice breaker

This sounds simple because it is. A great way to get people to talk is to ask a few “feeder” questions that will help you learn what the other person is interested in. Simply hone in on that subject. You don’t have to know anything about the topic to converse about the topic. You just have to know enough to ask the questions.

It’s easier you think. Online news sites have set up their pages with easy-to-read convenient categories, such as Top News, Sports, Entertainment, and Tech. Either at night or first thing in the morning, just take a few minutes to read the headlines, and maybe the first one to two sentences. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about “what’s hot” from just a cursory glance. You have enough information to start asking questions and conversing with someone new.

Make the other person feel like an expert

I still remember when I realized the value of asking questions and letting someone answer them. I was flying for business, and just before taking off, I struck up a conversation with the person seated next to me. I’m not sure what started the conversation, but I wasn’t familiar with the business he was in, and I asked a question. That question led to another, then another until the end of that two-hour flight. I realized that he had “small talked” during the entire flight. We made a good connection, I had learned something new, and, as we were gathering our belongings, he complimented me for being a good conversationalist.

A savvy networker, Susan RoAne, reads the sports section in her newspaper from cover to cover every single day, even though she has zero interest in sports. “Why on earth would you subject yourself to this?” I asked her, as I am admittedly not a sports fan, either. She replied, “My networking functions are primarily attended by men. I don’t want to stay on the sidelines while important conversations are going on, conversations that invariably start with a discussion about last night’s game.”

Take a few minutes each day to browse enough headlines to arm you with enough knowledge of current events, pop culture — and yes, even sports. Use this knowledge as an ice breaker to ask questions and get conversations flowing. Using small talk is simply a good networking strategy. As a bonus, you’ll learn a lot from these conversations you might never have learned otherwise.

elephant

How to Network with the Elephant in the Room

Experienced networkers understand that networking is not always a perfect 100% satisfaction guaranteed activity. A member can sometimes have a problem with another person in their networking group. However, instead of talking with this person to resolve the problem, the member avoids this person due to their personal discomfort, and the unresolved problem can grow into a larger situation. Now, the situation has created “the elephant in the room”, which could cause drama within the networking group.

Drama can occur in any group where wide varieties of people and personalities interact. This is also true in business networking groups that meet weekly for in-person or online meetings. If the physical avoidance between these two members is obvious to others at the networking meeting, the negativity from the situation could be felt by others in the group as “the elephant in the room”, potentially causing drama within the group.

What is “the elephant in the room”?

The elephant in the roomis defined as “a metaphorical idiom for an enormous topic or controversial issue that is obvious or that everyone knows about but no one mentions or wants to discuss because it makes at least some of them uncomfortable”. The member, due to discomfort, ignored the initial problem with the other person and avoided them during the group meetings. Therefore, the unresolved problem grew into a larger situation that became very obvious to the other members of the networking group. The initial problem between these two members evolved into “the elephant in the room” for the entire networking group. So, how do you tame and remove the elephant? Here are three of the most common situations why a networking group might have “the elephant in the room” and my suggestions for gracefully taming each of them:

Elephant #1: Poor Referrals

The reason for joining a networking group is to build strong relationships with the members to refer business to one another. Normally, this is a win-win for the member receiving the referral because their business grows with a new client, as well as a win for the member who gave the referral because of Givers Gain®. However, a small percentage of referrals may be poor referrals. They take up time but do not result in closed business. When something goes wrong and a member receives a poor referral, this can create the first elephant.

People who are experiencing a problem with a fellow member tend to talk about the problem to other members instead of talking directly with the fellow member that they are experiencing the problem with. This can actually make the problem worse.

Talk with the member giving you poor referrals.

In most of these situations, nothing was wrong with the actual referral. Usually, the problem was simply caused by miscommunication. Do not perpetuate problems by avoiding open, honest communication with others. Take the time to talk about it in a non-confrontational way. Talking right away will avoid making these awkward situations even worse.

Elephant #2: Personal Disagreements

Networking would be so much easier if people were not involved. Although networking is all about building relationships with people, personal disagreements are inevitable and problems occur. Avoiding each other due to discomfort and not talking with each other to resolve the disagreement creates the second elephant.

Focus on the solution rather than on the problem.

If you only focus on the problem, you become an expert on the problem. All too often, when facing a problem, the first thing we tend to do is focus on the negative situation. This tends to move us further from finding a way to fix it and that does not help the problem.

You must begin to start focusing on ways to resolve the situation by focusing on solutions. Rather than react, take the time to fully analyze the problem then make a list of possible solutions. When we think of ways to overcome our problems, we are prepared for the next problem down the road. Often, all that is needed is honest and direct communication between the two members to solve the disagreement.

Elephant #3: Breakups Between Members

Networking groups tend to attract like-minded people. Sometimes they bring two of their members together for more than just business. Over the years, I have known many couples that dated, fell in love, got married, and started a family together all because they first met at their networking group. On the other hand, this can quickly create the third elephant if the relationship ends badly and the two members remain in the same group after the messy breakup.

Take the higher ground and continue to network.

Given the value of your network, it is worth working through those feelings if you find yourself in a breakup with another member of your networking group. Do not lose your network of valuable referral sources you have built. The more professional you remain following the breakup, the higher your regard will be by your group. Therefore, remember not to talk badly about the other person or discuss the breakup situation with other members of the group.

Whatever the reason, many people involved in business networking may one day face a situation with “the elephant in the room”. Remember not to focus on growing the problem but on growing your business. Do not burn bridges with people in your group by avoiding them or the uncomfortable situation. Instead, talk to them about your concerns. You never know what the future will bring. You might end up being friends and valued referral partners with the former elephant.

definition of networking

My New Definition of Networking

One word that has had multiple definitions over the years concerning business growth is networking. For some business owners, networking was defined as compiling a huge database of names, usually by collecting business cards. Other entrepreneurs defined networking as the opportunity to meet people and personally prospect for business. Still, other businesspeople defined networking as nothing more than schmoozing and boozing, with no specific intention except to be seen and socialize. Therefore, I needed to consolidate these various thoughts on the definition of networking based on my experiences into one definition of networking:

“The process of developing and using your contacts to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve your community”

This definition stood the test of time for many years. However, times have changed. During the past nine months, business people have survived the most challenging economic time since the Great Depression. I realize that my definition of networking needs to evolve to reflect our changing times and business climate. There are some truths to retain from my original definition of networking. However, a few concepts need updating.

“Using” updates to “Activates”

The word “using” sounds rather harsh with the negative concept of “using” someone for something. However, when one “activates” others, the engagement becomes interactive and inspiring to take action together. The word “using” implies an action like a one-way street, while the word “activating” implies an interaction like a major two-way highway.

In these changing times, we need to be more inspiring and engaging when networking. Entrepreneurs who “activate” their network have higher networking results than those that are “using” someone.

“Contacts” updates to “Relationships”

The word “contacts” is an impersonal term for the names in one’s database. However, we cultivate genuine and authentic positive “relationships” with the people we feel are important to include in our network. Our “relationships” are something that we build together over time.

Networking is more about farming than it is about hunting. Commit to mastering what it takes to efficiently and effectively harness the potential in your “relationship crops” and you will reap a bountiful harvest of mutually satisfying relationships and sustainable growth in your business.

Includes “Online Networking”

In 2013, I wrote a blog about the beginning of online networking and recommended the importance of integrating this type of networking into your overall referral marketing strategy. I did not predict back then that seven years later the business world would be experiencing “The Great Pause” and we would all be working from home.

In 2020, in-person “face-to-face” networking came to a halt because of the current health situation. Many governments banned indoor group events. Even if you cannot go to your usual places to network face-to-face with others at mixers, meetings, or social events, you can still take action and build up your networking online.

Online networking provides many ways to connect with others, even if not face-to-face. In BNI, back in March 2020, we switched all 9,500 of our BNI chapters from weekly in-person meetings to online Zoom meetings as we embraced online networking. The goal is still the same as with in-person networking.  We focus on developing strong relationships with others and activate them to inspire others to support our businesses.

Online networking works! Our BNI members have already helped their fellow BNI members generate over $11.7 billion US dollars in revenue so far in 2020, resulting from over 8.6 million referrals exchanged. Therefore, amid these challenging times, referrals generated from online networking are helping many businesses stay open.

My new definition of networking is “The process of developing and activating your relationships to increase your business, enhance your knowledge, expand your sphere of influence, or serve the community”.

The changes may seem small, yet they are significant. I needed to modify my definition of networking with these updates. I believe this is a better representation of the concept of networking these days. Successful networking is about helping others as a way of growing your business. The people you help are more willing to help you or connect you to the people they know. Through networking, you can build a referral-based business by activating your relationships either online or in-person.

By simply changing a few words in my original definition of networking, I created what I believe is the true meaning of effective networking. My revised definition of networking is congruent with my style of networking. The same style of networking that BNI teaches our members every day. We know after 36 years of changing people’s lives that networking works. Your local BNI community can give you, and the people that you know, the support you need to thrive. Today, more than ever, you need to be networking. Today, more than ever, you need BNI.

networking benefits

The Networking Benefits

Networking benefits outweigh the perceived obstacles. These obstacles include the time away from the office to the cost to join the networking group. However, the networking benefits far exceed these concerns. The biggest benefit of networking is building strong relationships with others. The more solid relationships you build, the more credible you become. The more your credibility grows, the more people will hire and recommend you. Therefore, there are networking benefits that affect your finances, customer spending, and the impression of the quality of your business.

The Financial Networking Benefits

Before looking at the financial networking benefits there are both soft- and hard-money costs to consider. “Hard money” includes credit cards, cash, checks, and other possessions with monetary value. The term “soft money” is used to assign value to services or the invested time you spend on your business, otherwise known as sweat equity.

The time investment in business networking also builds social capital. Businesses develop and maintain solid, professional relationships through successful networking which create the value behind social contacts. The value of your invested time – “soft money” – is actually greater than the value of your “hard money” spent. Calculate the value of soft-money investments in networking and building relationships. You will be surprised at the financial value you have delivered to your business.

Networking Benefits Include These Positive Wealth Effects

  • Added sales volume
  • Higher average transaction amount per sale
  • Greater closing ratio
  • Referrals tend to be very qualified professionals
  • Higher occurrences of leads and referrals
  • More repeat business
  • Greater positive word-of-mouth marketing benefits
  • More customer loyalty
  • Stronger community recognition
  • Greater perceived value

The Networking Benefits on the Impression of Quality

The impression of the quality of your business is powerful. Consumers are willing to pay more for services and products that they equate to be of higher quality. The impression people have about the quality of your business is enhanced through networking.

Networking allows others to share testimonials about your business and to say good things about you. They help to convey the image of quality for your business. Networking allows others to say things about you that may be considered bragging if you said them. Imagine how powerful it is when your fellow networkers believe in you, they cannot stop talking about you with people they know. Your name is passed along with more and more frequency and confidence.

Your networking efforts are rewarded in many ways. After you have repeatedly established proof of quality, you will be referred to in such a manner that will greatly enhance your customer spending, and positively affect your finances. In conclusion, these networking benefits greatly outweigh the perceived obstacles.

Request an Introduction

Request an Introduction to Meet a Big Name

If you do not know someone personally and want to reach them, I would not contact them directly. Instead, I would find someone that knows them and I would request an introduction. When you request an introduction to someone well-known or very successful from a trusted third party, it smooths the path to meeting them as you network up.

That is exactly how I met Harvey Mackay, author of “Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive”. Back in the ’90s, I had not published any best-selling books yet, so very few people knew who I was. Still, I wanted to meet Mr. Mackay to ask him if he would write a section of my upcoming book. I thought he would make a good contributor as he had written about networking before. No matter how many times I tried, I could not get past his assistant without name recognition.

A well-connected driver

I started asking everyone I knew if they knew anyone who might have a connection to Mr. Mackay personally. A year later, I was on a book tour in another state. A BNI member in that city picked me up at the airport. While on the one hour drive to the hotel, he asked me many questions about my book. He attended the book tour event that week and asked if I would like a ride back to the airport the next day. I agreed. On the ride to the airport, he thanked me for all the suggestions I had shared on how to build a powerful personal network. Then he asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” 

So, I said to him, “I’ve been trying to connect with Harvey Mackay. I have not had any luck getting past his assistant. You wouldn’t happen to know someone that knows Harvey, would you?” He said, “Sure, I know his assistant pretty well. In fact, I have her mobile number”. He went on to explain that he always volunteers to drive visiting authors from the airport because he learns from them during the hour drive. That is why he volunteered to drive me.

Request an Introduction to a gatekeeper

He knows Mr. Mackay’s assistant because he talked to her many times the previous year when he volunteered to drive Harvey Mackay to/from the airport. He wanted to know why to qualify me before he passed it on to his trusted contact. I told him, “I wanted to ask Mackay if he would be willing to contribute to a book I was writing called “Masters of Networking”. Mackay had written a book on networking and I knew he would be a great contributor”. The driver said he would be happy to reach out to Mackay’s assistant and request an introduction to him.

Introduced to Harvey Mackay

Guess who called me the next week? Not the assistant, but Harvey Mackay himself. Mackay is an icon in the business world. I was honored to have a fantastic conversation with him. I learned that he absolutely “walks the talk” when it comes to networking. He took the time to learn about me and my book. My luck changed when he agreed to write a contribution to my book. Over the years, we have talked together on many occasions. He was even a keynote speaker at one of our BNI conventions. We have strengthened our relationship and I consider Harvey a good friend.

I was able to request an introduction to Harvey Mackay because I asked people who I knew and who I believe trusted me. I would ask people who trusted me for the referral. They knew I would not betray their trust. People do not want to give a referral to someone who just wants to sell something to their contacts. It still works for me today.

Networking Opportunities

Identify the Networking Opportunities To Reach Your Target Market

Successful networkers identify the types of business people who make up their target market and participate in the different types of networking opportunities to reach those prospects. However, successful networking does not mean running all over town connecting with anyone who happens to be in the room. I would not recommend mass networking as it is an exhausting way to acquire new customers.

Identify the strengths you have as a business professional

Building your business is more about leveraging your strengths to meet your prospects’ needs and then networking with as many of those people as you can. What are the strengths and skills that you offer as a business professional for your target market?

  • Are you a “people person”?
  • Do you enjoy public speaking?
  • What did you do professionally before starting your business?
  • How long have you lived in the area where you do business?
  • What skills do you possess beyond your business expertise, such as managing time well, staying organized, and keeping clients focused?

Identify Your Target Market

If you do not know who is your target market, how can you effectively hit your mark? Focus on who you want to be connected to and why. That might mean seeking connections from your friends and family members. It might also mean attending online networking opportunities within a 50-mile radius of your office.

Identify The Networking Opportunities To Reach Your Target Market

If you are an extroverted consultant who worked for a big insurance company before starting your own business, then insurance firms and their agents could be a logical target market. They would value your expertise and experience, and you would be able to talk in a language they understood. Furthermore, you will probably have great success in closing the deal with these prospects. Therefore, a good place to network with them would be through an insurance trade association that meets in your area. Your target audience would likely show up there in force.

If you are a people person who dabbles in public speaking. Your networking strategy should include delivering presentations at your local chamber of commerce. That is a great way to promote yourself and meet a lot of small-business owners at once.

Networking On Fire

Is Your Networking On Fire, On Hold, or In a Hole?

Businesses and entrepreneurs have quickly adapted to digital networking. Instead of meeting people at in-person events or venues, entrepreneurs are now meeting people online. However, for many entrepreneurs, transitioning from face-to-face interactions to digital networking is not easy to accomplish. Therefore, business owners need to determine their current level of networking.  Are you networking on fire, on hold, or in a hole?

Networking on Fire

These networkers are energized, goal-oriented, and thriving. They’re generating a lot of referrals with a high value. Instead of wasting their time at home, they are using their time during this ‘great pause” to educate themselves by either reading books or attending webinars. If you are networking on fire, you are participating weekly in your online networking group meetings. Finally, you are reaching out to your contacts and are conducting effective one-to-ones with others.

Networking on Hold

These networkers are still operating their businesses, but they are just going through the motions with their current clients. They do the minimum and get average results. Instead of growing their business, they are letting it slide. If you became complacent and started to slide in your networking, you are networking on hold. Finally, they might attend their weekly networking meetings, but they do not reach out to schedule one-to-ones with others.

Networking in a Hole

These networkers are struggling with networking. Actually, they are not networking much at all. Instead, these entrepreneurs act like ostriches that bury their heads in the sand when scared. They are hoping that simply denying the existence of a problem will make it go away and everything will be back to normal soon. They are actually losing business because they have difficulty retaining their clients. If you are ignoring opportunities to network with others, you are networking in a hole. Finally, the belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to avoid predators is nothing more than a myth.

Where does your networking stand right now?

If your networking is on fire, congratulations. You are refusing to participate in the recession by building your business and by supporting others when you find referrals for those people you meet during your one-to-ones.

If your networking is on hold, it’s not that hard to transition to being on fire. Break out of your shell which is holding you back. Take time to meet others online, schedule your one-to-ones, and attend online events like the one I will be hosting September 15 to 17: “Restart the World”.

If your networking is in a hole, you need to decide if you want help to get out of the hole. I have learned that I can’t help the ones that think the “hole” is the natural state of things. I call this condition the “I HIT HIDWAL” syndrome. (I’m Happy In This Hole and I Don’t Want A Ladder) I can, however, help the ones who recognize their condition and know they want out. More importantly, they not only want out of the hole they are currently in, but they will do just about whatever it takes to get themselves out of that hole! We can only help those who are ready and willing to be helped.

The key to networking improvement is recognizing where you are with your networking. Determine if your current networking is on fire, on hold, or in a hole. Then, decide what steps you will take to improve with the right combination of passion, structure, and accountability. So today, light a spark, fan the flames, and get your networking on fire.

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