Power of Networking: Real Facetime

- January 11, 2012

Action Wednesday/People

Hello again, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape. Today is Action Wednesday where we are going to discuss implementing your action plan. Chinese philosopher LaoTzu said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Now I don’t know if he actually said miles or kilometers or leagues or whatever existed way back when, but I think you get the point. That is, you are returning to Once a Day Marketing and that’s our goal. A little goes a long way and somewhere out in the not-too-distant-future your business is going to firm up a lot.

Today’s subject is the “Power of Networking: Real Facetime.” I’m a huge fan of networking as part of your marketing strategy, especially in the digital world when people aren’t interacting as much. Networking is your opportunity to get out and meet people face-to-face. That’s very powerful.

When you develop a relationship via networking, remember it is a two-way street: you need to give as well as take. If you are only taking then the relationship is not going to go very far. When you focus on networking, you’re going to build contacts that you can use in the future. Doesn’t matter who you are looking for, chances are this powerful network that you’ve built will allow you to seek that person out.

There are numerous networking events out there. Tons! It’s important for you to determine which are the best for you to attend. I have attended many that weren’t the type of people I wanted to add to my network. Check into events and make sure they will include the types of people you would like to add to your network.

No matter what the event, once there you should seek out the right people to interact with, don’t spend time with people who aren’t necessarily going to help you in the future with respect to building your network. Check the program which introduces who’s there and you can focus on those individuals. If you have no idea, you can talk to the organizer and they might be able to point you in the right direction. Your main goal is to come away with new contacts to add to your network and, to be able to develop a relationship so you can interact with them in the future.

Here are a few networking tips. First, bring your business cards. It sounds obvious but I have forgotten them. Today, fortunately, you also have your electronic business card on your smartphone so maybe in the future so that problem will go away.

Next bring a pen, because when you’re listening to the people at the networking event you should make mental notes and then write them down later. Your notes are going to be important for follow-up afterwards.

How to get into the conversation? When you seek someone out you need to quickly get into the conversation. Perhaps you know their work; you can comment on that. Perhaps you have mutual friends; you can comment on that. Maybe you know that person loves tennis and you love tennis so you can establish a conversation that way. It’s important to get that conversation going quickly.

Keep conversation about them more than you. You want to learn what their interests are, what they’re working on right now and who their associates might be. You want to share a little about yourself that is intriguing, but you don’t want to monopolize their time because they’re at this meeting to network as well. So get in and get out. Thank them for the opportunity to meet them. When you leave, use your pen to jot down the notes of that conversation. After you meet five or six other people, you might forget all about the conversation.

When you get home, add the new contact information to your database. Equally important, include the date of when and where you met them, and transcribe those notes regarding what you talked about so you can use those notes as touch points with them in the future.

Follow-up is critical to networking. Within 24 hours, get back to each new contact. They may remember you, but if you can get back to them quickly that will help keep you in their mind. What do you say when get back to them? First, thank them for the opportunity to meet. You might even send them a card; we talked about personal notes.

What else can you do? Perhaps in the notes you took, you remember that they are looking for a tennis instructor and you happen to have a friend who is a very good tennis instructor. That is an opportunity to arrange a referral and, more importantly, keep in touch. Another individual said they were looking for someone to help their project. Again, you have someone in your network that might be perfect for it. So you request the opportunity to introduce them.

One last thing to consider is whether you should get back in touch with someone face-to-face. That’s up to you. The main consideration is, can you assist them or vice versa. You shouldn’t waste their time but if you feel there is a good fit, I recommend you arrange time to meet. You can start by having a cup of coffee and sharing a little more about yourself and learning more about what they’re doing and where they’re taking their business.

You can now see why networking is so important and why it should be an integral part of your marketing plan. It’s up to you to build that network. When you go to events and make contacts, follow up because chances are they won’t. Even as good as that conversation went, they might have forgotten to write down those notes and they’re not contacting you. Nurture relationships; you make sure they’re a two-way street. Over time you should build strong relationships with these individuals and a powerful network that you can use anytime you want. And that’s effective marketing.

That’s another Action Wednesday. Thanks for watching. Be sure to drop by tomorrow if you can for Recon Thursday. And maybe in the not-too-distant-future we can do some networking together. I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, and I think you know the drill by now, I’ll see you next time.