Business Networking Doesn’t Work For Everyone Or Does It?

Have you ever spoken to someone in business who says “Oh yes – I tried networking once and it didn’t work for me.”

Over my years in business and having attending hundreds of networking events, I’ve heard this or a similar phrase many, many times. I’ve also been told that business networking doesn’t work for everyone and for a while I reflected on this point to see if I agree and actually, I don’t.

Now if you put it another way and say “not everyone who does business networking makes it work” then that is another matter. Also, “not all types of business networking events work in the same way for everyone” I can agree with that as well.

Whatever your business or profession, networking at some level can and will have a positive impact on you and your business, especially when you do it well.

Over my last 7 years in business, I have been an active member of a business referral group and I have seen numerous members come and go. Frequently I see people in the same business or profession who achieve very contrasting results from their networking activity. Why is this?

I’ve seen business owners leave declaring that networking is rubbish and a waste of time and then someone else has joined to replace them and they get so much business that they happily declare that the group has been their absolutely best source of business and they wish they had joined years earlier.

The difference isn’t their business or necessarily their professional competence. It is however their attitude. The successful Networkers are the ones who commit to and embrace the qualities and values of the group. They focus on helping others first and trust that they will be helped in return. They build trust and respect and because they regularly attend the meetings and support the group and its members, including at social events, they become well-known and definitely well-liked by their colleagues and associates.

When you start with a great positive attitude and add to that tried, tested and proven skills and techniques of rapport building, etiquette and personal communication among others, you dramatically improve your personal effectiveness.

In terms of not all networking events working in the same way for everyone, it really is important to find groups that you feel comfortable in. Networking is a powerful and highly effective way to generate referral business, wherever you do it.

Networking isn’t a quick fix to generate immediate extra business and sales when you suddenly realise that your orders have stopped coming in. Networking isn’t a hard sell ‘close the deal’ approach to business.

Networking is a slower process for cultivating trust and nurturing contacts and connections. Networking is highly effective at generating strong personal and business relationships that will deliver long-term repeat business on recommendation and referral.

Whatever your business is, having other people tell people they know about you and being happy to refer others to you, is a benefit that will leverage your own time and resources. When you add value for and help the people you meet, many of them will help you in turn.

If however, your focus is on a quick return, ‘a fast buck’, what’s in it for me approach, networking will not deliver what you are looking for.

Tony Altham is Business Networking Coach, Trainer and Professional Speaker who specializes in teaching entrepreneurs and professionals how to build powerful relationships that generate long-term profitable business via referral and recommendation.

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Business Networking – The ABC’s

People have often asked me what I consider the ABC of networking are.

Interestingly, the ABCs I tend to pick have little to do with the process of networking, but more to do with the WHY, WHO, WHERE and WHEN.

To that end, I’m going to give you my ABCs with a brief explanation of some of the words and why I choose these above all others.

A – Aptitude, Attitude, Attention, Action and Ask. These are all powerful, ‘A’ words which are important in business networking. You need to have a strong attitude to take action and and create an aptitude for asking the right questions.

B – Business, Branding and Brevity. These ‘B’ words are all about being focused on the Brand you’re trying to put forward, keeping it brief and ensuring that you’re always about business.

C – Commitment, Communication, Connection, and Clarity. Commitment is a very strong part of good business networking. It allows you to create powerful connections, while communicating with absolute clarity… this shows you the power of the ‘C’s’.

D – Dedication, Determination and Diplomacy. In business networking, you have to have a very determined mindset. Always be diplomatic, but always be determined in achieving your target or goal.

E – Enthusiastic, Empathic, Emotive and Engaging. When networking, you need to be focused on creating a strong connection. You need to show your enthusiasm by being engaging and empathic while using emotive language to get your point across.

F – Friendly, Focused and Fun. Even though you are focused on achieving connections. The more fun, you create in the process, the more friendly you will appear to the people you’re meeting.

G – Goals, Gratitude and Give. One of the key elements of business networking is giving, but in giving you need to make sure you do so with gratitude. And that you are focused on achieving your specific goals in helping others.

H – Happy, Host and Helpful. The ‘H’s’ in networking, a very important. When you are a networking function always act like a host be as helpful as you can be to assist others to feel more comfortable. In doing so, you’ll feel a lot happier, and they will also be happy to meet you and be happy to be at the function.

I – Interested, Ideas and Innovative. One of the keys to business networking is showing people that you have innovative ideas and are interested in them and their business. You might just be the key to their future success

J – Jovial, Just and joyful. These seem to be rather interesting words to use in a business networking context. However, if you don’t have an attitude of joy and a sense of joviality and is very difficult to accept the judgement of others. Despite what other people think we must always have a just attitude to people and their ideas.

K – Knowledgeable, Kudos and Keen. These tend to speak for themselves. When talking to another person it is always appropriate to give them kudos for any achievements that they will tell you about. It is important that we show that we have a knowledgeable understanding of their business, and if we don’t, that we have a keenness in learning more from them.

L – Likeable, Listen, Learning and Laughter. The ‘L’ words cover some important aspects. We must always listen, if we are going to learn about our contact. Being able to laugh with them and show that we are likeable, is an important step in creating this relationship.

M – Motivation, Mentoring and Managing. When going to a networking function. It is important that we take a role of motivator and mentor, particularly to those who are new to business networking. But we must always be mindful to manage our connections, and our goals when we are at an event.

N – Noticeable, New and Nuances. It is key at all networking functions to make sure that we are noticed, one of the best ways to do that is to always offer something new and listen and look to the nuances in the reactions of the people we are talking to. These are the clues to building a strong connection.

O – Openness, Open-Minded and Opportunities. These words are very obvious. We must always show that we are open to other people, and that we’re open minded to their ideas and also to their opportunities.

P – Positive, Present, Passionate and Profitability. One of the true keys in networking is to be always be present, in the moment, with the person you’re talking to. Your passion and your positive attitude will lead you closer to creating a profitable relationship once you take your connection to the next step.

Q – Question, Quirky and Questing. Whenever you’re with any group of people, it is important to ask appropriate questions. Often these questions can be quirky and fun, because this gives the recipient an idea that you are questing for more than just the standard answers.

R – Reciprocity, Real and Rapport. Business networking is about developing a reciprocal arrangement with someone else. If you’re honest and real, you will find it very easy to build rapport with that person. Once this is done, you will find that developing a reciprocal arrangement becomes easier.

S – Sincere, Succinct and Silent. People often say, silence is golden. it is important that when you ask a question, keep it succinct, and then let the person answer the question. By allowing others to complete what they have to say reflects on your sincerity.

T – Tenacious, Thorough and Transparent. At a networking function, you need to be tenacious to your goal. Be thorough in the methods that you use, but always be transparent in your dealings with people.

U – Uniqueness, Useful and Understanding. One of the real opportunities when networking is to be able to show how useful and unique your business can be and how you can help others achieve success. By making an attempt to understand their business, you can show them how useful, you can be to them.

V – Visibility, Versatility and Value. Stepping out at a networking function is all about visibility. In the process, you need to show people that you have value and versatility to be able to assist them in their business.

W – Welcoming, Warm and Worthy. When meeting anyone, it is important to be welcoming and warm in your approach. You need to prove that you are worthy of their time and their interest.

X – Xanadu and Xenophile. I bet you didn’t think there were any x-words. Treat every networking event, like your personal Xanadu. All networking events are special places. Also it is important to be a Xenophile. This means that you are prepared to embrace everything that’s new and look at differences in people and businesses to be able to help them.

Y – You and Yes. You are the most important person at a networking function. It is important that you embraced the concept of saying yes to as many things as you can and be able to move any and every relationship forward for your and their success.

Z – Zeal and Zest. Zest is like passion and energy. It is important to show both at a networking function. You’re zeal on the other hand, is your attitude and your focus.

There you have it! My ABCs.

I hope to expand on these in future articles and be able to share with you some of the very real benefits of embracing these ABCs so that you can use these tools to help you create profitability and success in your business.

Happy and profitable networking!

Leo Petrik invites you to GET REAL and build your business success by creating awesome FOCUS on your networking, social media, writing and public speaking skills, so that you can reap the rewards that you deserve

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