a 10-year member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, I can
safely say that I refined my networking skills through my Chamber
involvement. Over time, I've observed and experiences some great
successes. Unfortunately, I've also observed some colossal failures
and unrealistic expectations. The word, 'networking', has given
way, in many quarters, to the phrase, 'realtionship marketing.' In
fact, Relationship Marketing implies, correctly, a longer term
activity than Networking. Often, people join a trade association,
come to a meeting or mixer and expect to find a million-dollar lead
waiting, on a silver platter. Here are some sure-fire ways to
make certain it does work.
relationships don't end just because you have arrived! - Recognize,
that many people, such as myself, have been members of the
association for years. As such, we have already built one or more
relationships with someone in your field. Don't be put off by it.
Move on to the next person who does not have a preexisting relationship.
Nobody owes you
referrals just because you joined an organization. - Leave the chip
off your shoulder. Referrals are earned.
relationships and the business will follow. - The saying goes,
'people do business with people, not companies.' I believe, to a
large degree, this is true. Learn as much about people as their
companies. Build the relationship
Do not be overly
aggressive at mixers and meal functions. - These functions are part
social/part business. Don't be a party crasher.
Show up - make it
a priority. - Being memorable starts with repetition. Just like in
advertising, repetition builds reputation. Long time members are
looking for your commitment. or whether you're just passing through.
committees and visible board positions. - Leaders and other
volunteers do more work, the also get more visibility. In turn, they
always develop more business relationships.
There are times to
say yes, and times to say no when asked for a donation of services,
or your time. - Pick your spots. See where your involvement will be
the most interesting for you and also shows the potential for meeting
your business goals.
Do not spend the
whole event with people you already know. - The longer you're
involved, the more this becomes a challenge. Arrange to meet with
your pals, before or after. Remember why you are at an event.
referrals to others. - There is nothing better than developing
visibility by example. Those that give the best leads to others
usually receive the best leads, in return.
Remember, bad news
travels fast - Being unreliable, showing up late, being slow on
follow up, coming on too strong...are all traits that will develop a
reputation for you, quickly... and none of it will be flattering.
How to work a room
- Susan Roane - Warner Books The Secrets of Savvy Networking - Susan
Roane - Warner Books What do I say next? - Susan Roane - Warner Books
Endless Referrals - Bob Burg - McGraw Hill Getting Business to Come
to You - Paul and Sarah Edwards Work at being a good volunteer, stay
involved, build relationships and the sales success will follow.
It¹s really that simple.
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