It’s 2015 and as a New Year’s resolution you may have pledged to use networking as a greater piece of your firms business development strategy pie!
Whether you work as a lawyer, florist, limo company, software engineer or in basically any other business endeavor, networking should have some place in your strategic plan for driving new revenue and for forging new relationships.
And, like in many activities, there may not necessarily be any hard and fast rules on how to do it but there are some basic guidelines for how not to do it.
It needs to be remembered that in any relationship there has to be a degree of win-win for both parties involved or more likely than not it is not going to work!
After all a pure taker will always be willing to take but, at some point, the giver will tire of the fact that no thoughts toward reciprocation are ever offered.
And a ‘win’ for a new associate does not necessarily have to be new business per se, but can simply be having you as a reliable referral source for clients who need whatever it is that you do.
So here is my partial list of networking Do’s and, if there are any others you think should have made the list or disagree with those in the list, please add your comments below.
Also, if you have any networking success stories you would like to share, please share those as well.
- Spend some time speaking with and learning about a new contact before you give them your business card,
- Actually engage with the people you meet without looking past them to find the next person to talk to,
- Use a firm handshake and make eye contact during an introduction,
- Actually listen to what a new contact has to say without focusing only on what you want to say next. You have two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak,
- If attending a trade show or an existing groups meeting do some research before getting there regarding people you may want to meet,
- Networking events are not typically the time for engaging in the hard sell,
- Although the person you are speaking with may not have synergies to your business, one of the keys to networking is can be the people who new contacts know that may be,
- By the same token while you may not be in a position to conduct business with a new networking contact, actually give some thought to contacts of yours who may be a good fit for them,
- Finally, networking and referrals do not always have to be business related.
As an example of the last bullet point, I received a call on December 30th from a local television station asking me if I was going to be participating again this year in the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge New Years Day as I had done last year. My son and I had ‘plunged’ to help raise awareness for the Bone Marrow Registry.
While I was not, I have a contact who was participating to help raise money for a local charity that houses and provides schooling for children who had to be removed from their homes. Was this going to generate new business for either of us?
No, but the more that we think about others the more that they will hopefully think about us as well.
The theory, as the BNI motto says, is that in the end givers gain!
Michael Haltman, President of Hallmark Abstract Service, New York.
HAS is a provider of title insurance in New York State for residential and commercial real estate transactions.
And, for anyone either buying a property or refinancing, remember that although your attorney will likely recommend a title insurance provider you always have the right to choose your own title company (click here to learn more)!
If you have any questions you can reach Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.Google+