Four Tips for Success

“Position yourself as a center of influence – the one who knows the movers and shakers. People will respond to that, and you’ll soon become what you project.” Bob Burg

Too often people participate in what I call “drive-by networking.” In fact many people approach it from the “What can I get out of this conversation, contact, person, etc.?” You know them when you see them. They introduce themselves to you during an event, hand you their card (before you even have the chance to ask for it) they ask a favor, ask for a referral, ask you to pass around their resume, ask for free advice and then once the meeting is over they become a royal pain in the harass – because they call you to try and “sell you” what they have, even when you aren’t really interested. The business of networking is an art – it requires skill, forethought and what my mother used to call “class.”

Networking is about relationships and building those relationships takes time and effort. Michelangelo didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel in a day and it is unlikely you will establish a trusting, sharing relationship in a day either!

There are ways to work smart and enjoy the process of building those relationships. And you can learn to NETWORK SO NO ONE KNOWS YOU’RE DOING IT.

Here are four tips to make sure your networking is working for you:

1. Add to your collage. The follow-through is like a piece of clay being molded into the form you envision. Follow up and follow through. If you meet someone, be sure to send a handwritten note, the article you promised them, or the contact name of someone who might be of benefit to them. Do it in a timely fashion. People will soon learn that you are someone they can count on. And will want to be a part of your own collage of friends.  Years ago a friend of mine helped me discover SendOutCards and have been using them to stay in touch and follow up with people I meet. It is one of the greatest time-saving devices I have found to stay connected with people.  And they love it!  I became a distributor for the company because I can save money and make money by sharing this opportunity with others.  

2. Appreciate others as you would a beautiful painting. Make each person you meet feel as though he or she is the most important person in the world. Great networkers like people and it shows. It’s not just about what they can do for you, it’s about who they are. When you open your mind and your heart to people, you will be amazed at what opportunities are out there, just waiting for you.

3. Be the Masterpiece that you are. Confident people are like great works of art. People want to see them, be around them, even admire and emulate them. Confidence is the key to successful networking. If you are unsure about yourself or your product/service it will show. People like doing business with successful, confident people. That’s why the gal or guy with charisma makes the sale even when the product may be inferior. Keep in mind you’re part in the networking relationship. You too, have a lot to offer – your own gallery of friends and associates (contacts), your expertise and knowledge and your willingness to contribute to the relationship by sharing your circle and your knowledge.

4. Color outside the lines. Art comes in many forms. If everyone else is a painting, be sculpture. Find ways to stand out in the crowd. Be creative. If you feel you are just one of those people who doesn’t have any distinctive physical attributes, then do something about it! Be known as the woman (or guy) who wears a flower on her lapel, or the guy with the Stand-out ties. Wear a button that has a provocative saying (not risqué) so people can ask you about it. Create a style that’s memorable – people will start looking for you.

When you learn the Art of Networking you will meet interesting people, establish exceptional business contacts and walk in when new doors for you. Like any art, the contacts you make when you learn the art of networking increases in value over time.

Happy Networking!

Ps.  Every time I attend a networking meeting, something great happens. I attended a Florida Direct Marketing Association meeting and had the good fortune to sit with one of the guest speakers.  Of course, we had a great conversation and later that week she blogged about it.  She is the founder of Catalogs.com and her circle of influence is huge.