A friend of mine, TR Garland (pictured with me in the photo at right), just wrote a great blog entry which contains some very timely information for many people across the globe and I’d like to take the opportunity to share it with you today as a guest blog. Enjoy . . .
“New Year’s Resolutions and Networking” by TR Garland
In about 30 days, the majority of people around the world are going to be faced with the same thing we’re all faced with once at a certain point every single year.
No, I’m not talking about keeping a smile on your face while spending the holidays with your in-laws (wink-wink). I’m talking about setting New Year’s Resolutions.
Every year, one of the top resolutions is to “get in shape.” The truth of the matter is that most of us already know how to get in shape:
1. Design a nutritional plan and stick to it
2. Design a workout schedule and stick to it
3. Track your actions and results daily and recalibrate if needed
The problem is, a large percentage of people don’t reach their goals because:
1. They don’t write out a formal nutrition plan or workout schedule
2. They don’t hold themselves accountable
In other words, life gets in their way.
So what can be done about this? Well, there’s something about human psychology that pushes us to not let someone else down. Because of this, people who invest in a personal trainer to help keep them accountable tend to achieve desired results much more consistently than they ever would by attempting to get in shape on their own.
It’s important to note that this same concept holds true for business networking and referral marketing.
Many people are spending a lot of time networking by just chatting away with others and maybe grabbing others’ business cards. By doing this, they then expect results; they expect that the people whom they’ve met and exchanged business cards with will eventually pass a referral to them. This mindset is called being reactive ( . . . and hoping for the best!). Being reactive is an employee mindset or mentality that, in my opinion, gets placed into the same category as punch cards, guaranteed smoke breaks, assembly lines, benefits entitlement, and cubicles. In other words, this mindset is something that isn’t really that viable anymore in today’s economic environment.
If you don’t believe me, look around and note which businesses are thriving and hiring. I’m confident you’ll discover that the businesses which are doing well are those that do not have a reactive mindset and, instead, maintain an entrepreneurial mindset.
An entrepreneurial mindset is one that takes ownership and focuses on being proactive versus reactive. Just like the “getting in shape” example above, being proactive and accountable in your business networking and referral marketing efforts is a sure-fire way to get results–plain and simple.
So, especially if you’ll be out attending holiday parties in the coming 30 days with your spouse, significant other, family, or friends, remember to be proactive with your networking efforts. Go to each event with a purpose (in addition to your goal of having fun). Don’t simply gather business cards, that’s not what I’m talking about. Instead, set relevant and realistic networking goals and ask the person you went with to hold you accountable to your goals.
And, of course, there’s a time and a place for everything. You need to respect the event you’re attending and if the environment doesn’t warrant you achieving certain networking goals . . . grab a celebratory beverage and some festive treats and remember, there’s always next year!
* TR Garland is a Referral Marketing Strategist for the Referral Institute® in Orange County, California where he is a consultant to top performers and entrepreneurs on maximizing their ROI/ROT from business contacts and networking. Starting in 2011, you can follow TR for his tips, tactics, and techniques on effective networking at his newly launched blog located at www.BeABetterNetworker.com.