Building A Networking Relationship: 1 of 7

“How Do I Go About Getting Others To Know, Like & Trust Me?”In the world of business and professional networking, that is the $64,000 question.

One Answer is Never Stop Giving. The Golden Rule of Networking states “give first, get second.” In short, if you want to get things from your network, you need to give to it. Focus on giving to others … give referrals … give additional contacts … give opportunities … give information … give encouragement … give support … give, give, give.

When you give to others they cannot help but Know, Like and Trust you. As a result the people you give to will want to return the generosity. In addition, you will develop the reputation of being a “generous person.” This will inspire others to want to contribute to you, as they come to believe that you are likely to give back.

This is powerful and should become almost a daily habit.

  • Share information with others and they will share information back.
  • Give referrals to centers of influence in your network and they will go out of their way to return the deed.
  • Help your prospective clients with things unrelated to what you sell and you will be forever on the top of their mind (perhaps referring you clients down the road).
  • Be supportive of your clients and vendors and they will “rave” to others about you.

With everyone you encounter, ask yourself, “In what way could I help them?” When the answers come to you, take action. That will build Know, Like, and Trust like nothing else.

J (Giving)

Great Questions To Ignite “Small Talk”

Again, small talk kick starts the networking process. Small talk, however, is about getting the other person talking. This begs the question: What are good questions to ask in this process?

There is no magic. Planning, however, is paramount. Be like an attorney – prepare your questions before you ask them. In other words, have a small handful of questions ready to go. Each of these relate to the person’s life professionally or personally … Or something about their past.

From there, allow the conversation to take itself wherever. A few of these questions could include…

• What do you do? How long have you been doing it? How did you become interested in that?

• What are some of the projects or assignments you are currently working on?

• Are you from this area?

-Yes – What part?

– No – What brought you here?

• Outside of work, what occupies you? How did you become interested in that?

• What are some business or community organizations you are involved with?

These will give you a start. From here you might want to formulate your own series of questions. Again, there is no magic. It is simply a matter of planning on how you will get and keep them talking.

T (Questions)

Why Is There An Apprehension Towards “Small Talk”?

For many, the thought of engaging in “small talk” can make them anxious. It comes down to one thing FEAR. Fear of being rejected. Fear of having nothing to contribute. Fear of getting stumped (or running out of conversation). Fear of getting stuck in a conversation with, well, that stranger that Mom warned you about.

FEAR NOT! The strangers your mother warned you about are no longer interested. You have things to contribute and with a little planning and practice you will never get stumped (and if you do, there is a way out).

R (Conversation)

As for rejection, know this: Everyone has this fear. EVERYONE. Even the most well connected, confident person will tell you that deep down inside, that they have this apprehension. If everyone has this fear, then everyone will welcome you coming up and jumping into conversation with them.

So make someone’s day. Engage in some “small talk” with them.

Do I Really Need To Read The Franchise Disclosure Document?

The franchise disclosure document, commonly referred to as the “FDD” is a legal document which a franchisor must give to a potential franchisees in advance of the buyer paying any money or entering into any agreements with the franchisor. It is chock full of useful information about the business opportunity, which the Federal Trade Commission has required to put the prospective franchisee on a more equal footing with the franchise

Nevertheless, from time to time, prospective franchises will question, “Do I really need to read the FDD?” That is like asking if you need to wash your hands after handling raw chicken. It is not absolutely required by, but it is probably a really good idea.

Despite it being a good idea, prospective franchisees (perhaps, even you) have their excuses for not wanting to read a FDD.

  • “But my attorney is reading it.” Great. That is what you are paying her for. You still need to read it, however. While your attorney is no doubt looking out for your best interest, she is reading the FDD from a legal perspective. The FDD, however, is loaded with business considerations. These items you need to factor into your strategic and operation plans. You need to read the FDD.
  • “But it is such a simple business. I won’t glean anything new from reading it.” Really? Nothing? The FDD is loaded with information (legal, business, market analysis, competitive landscape, etc.). There is something there. You need to read the FDD.
  • “The investment is small; it is hardly worth the effort.” It’s true, there are low cost franchise opportunities that you can get into for only a few thousand dollars. But who can afford to lose a few thousand dollars or at least not make the most of it? You need to read the FDD.
  • “I don’t have the time.” When you get into business (whether franchised or not), you are embarking on a huge committment. Even if it is only a parttime franchise opportunity, you will invest a considerable amount of time running the business. Given that, you ought to be able to find an hour or two. You need to read the FDD.

There are plenty of excuses for passing on a good reading of the FDD. Unfortunately, none of them are very good. There are lots of great reasons to comprehend what the franchisor has included in its FDD. Find the time. Take the time. Read it.