In Networking, Relationships Are Currency

How many times do you think the following scenario happens?
A professional (maybe even yourself) goes to a business networking event, meets a lot of good people, then leaves and never talks to any of them again.

It happens way too often, right? So… why does it happen?

It’s not because they didn’t like the people they met or that they never want to see them again. It’s usually because, like so many others these days, they are a busy person with a full schedule and there is so much going on they can’t even remember if they ate   breakfast, let alone remember to reconnect with the individuals they met at a networking event.

That’s unfortunate because those new contacts are where future business opportunities are born, IF you start to cultivate a relationship with them.

Contacts are valuable, and your relationships are currency. When it comes to your contacts, it is how well you know each other that counts, not how many contacts you have. It’s the ones that you turn into lasting relationships that make a difference.

Try making 10 cold calls to introduce yourself. How well did that go for you?
Now if you call five people that you already know and tell them you’re putting together a marketing plan for the coming year, and you would greatly appreciate any help they may be able to provide in the form of a referral or new business contact, do you think those results will be better? Of course they are. You already have a relationship with those people and most of them are glad to help.

You’ll always get better results from efforts to deepen relationships with people you already know than starting relationships with strangers. What is the best way for you to grow and utilize your relationships? Watch my video and read more below for more information.

Four Steps to Get Started

  1. Give your clients a personal call.Find out how things are going with the project you were involved in. Ask if there is anything else you can do to help them. Important: Do not ask for a referral at this point.
  2. Make personal calls to all the people who have helped you or given you a business referral.Ask them how things are going in their business and in their life. Learn more about their current activities so you can refer business to them.
  3. Put together your list of the Top 50 people you want to stay in touch with this year. The list should include anyone who has given you business in the past 12 months (from steps 1 and 2) along with any other prospects you have connected with recently. Send them a personal, handwritten card on the next public holiday (In the U.S., it would be Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, etc.). Or send a ‘thinking of you’ card with a message that you hope the year is going well.
  4. Two weeks after you send the cards, call them (yes, a phone call) and see what’s going on. If they’re past customers or people that you have talked to before, now is the perfect time to ask for a referral. If they are prospects, perhaps you can set up an appointment to meet for coffee, learn more about their business, and find out if their plans might include using your products or services.

Remember, this is a process, and these steps are to help you build relationships with other businesspeople. This is not for a sales pitch.

Within a few weeks, you’ll be on your way to creating and strengthening business relationships and building enough social capital to tap into for the rest of the year.

Social Capital

Social capital, otherwise known as the value behind your social contacts, is the international currency of networking, especially business networking. If you take as much care in raising and investing your social capital as you do your financial capital, you’ll find that the benefits that flow from these intangible investments are not only rewarding in themselves, they can also multiply your material returns many times over.

Choosing to put your time and energy into networking is one of the best investments you can make to secure future success for yourself and others with whom you network. This is because successful business networking is all about building and maintaining solid, professional relationships.

Relationships are part of the fabric of the development of your social capital. You must invest in the relationships if you ever expect to make a withdrawal. Relationships truly are the currency of networking.




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