We all do it, networking that is. Whether it’s lurking around in the chat rooms online or attending in person at a local event.
But networking isn’t about ‘working the room’ or joining any online chat that we find amusing. It’s an attempt to find a few high-potential prospects or recommenders so you can develop a relationship.
Author Alan Weiss says there are five key aspects to ‘quality’ networking and these are:
- Distance power. You’re better off with strangers than you are with those you already know, even if only slightly. Because the latter already have pre-conceived perceptions that colour their judgement. With the former you can immediately create a new perception.
- Unique Multipliers. These are those people who are not buyers but they do know scores of other people who can help you. A relationship with them can be leveraged into dozens of relationships.
- Nexus people. These are unique connectors who are insiders with your potential buyers. They can make an immediate introduction, and may be subordinates, assistants, colleagues, family friends, and so on.
- Adhesion principle. What will you do to be memorable? Alan suggests that you provide the other person with value, thereby creating an obligation. That value may be a business contact or a resource, or you may be a nexus person for them.
- Contexual connection. You are both at the same network meeting or indeed online chat room, because you have something in common. Make the best of that immediate common bond.
Remember: Your immediate objective in networking is to meet a buyer. However, you don’t want to do a sales pitch or bore people with your wonderful company and how well you are doing.
What you should concentrate on is ‘them’ and giving them value in some way. For instance, if you have given someone a contact to help with their problem, then follow up next time by asking how they got on. Networking is process, not an event and it’s about building quality relationships that will lead to you finding buyers.
Above all else – enjoy the chat!