Networking is such an important way to improve the strength and longevity of your business that it is vital you get it right. By getting it right I mean that you build strong relationships that are going to help you in every aspect of your business life going forward.
When I say ‘networking’ the majority of people automatically think of network meetings and specifically titled networking events. Whilst these events are very useful and a great catalyst to get relationships started, they are just a catalyst nothing more. Real networking is about building quality, two way relationships where everybody benefits and are there for each other. Jeffrey Gitomer in his brilliant book “The Little Black Book of Connections” asks the pertinent question “Who could you call at 2.00am?”. If your list has any business names on then, congratulations!!!!! If you don’t have any names on don’t worry it just means you have a massive opportunity to strengthen your business by improving these connections.
Before you go about planning how you are going to strengthen your relationships I would ask you to stop and think first. Before you get to the how you need to decide on the who, these are the people that you know will give you what you want from your network and also the people to whose lives and businesses you can add value. A little time planning in advance will save you a long time fumbling around having lots of meetings, coffees, or whatever is the most appropriate way you choose to build your network.
– Who you most want to connect with?
– How can you add value to them?
– How are you going to build the relationship?
– What do you already know about them?
– How much time are you prepared to dedicate to this relationship?
Answer these questions and you are in a great position to start to build a mutually beneficial relationship. As Stephen Covey teaches us in ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ – First seek to understand then to be understood. Using this rule will get you a long way down the road to adding to your list of 2am callers.