Networking: Three Reoccuring (and vital) Themes

Networking is nothing new. In fact, it has been studied for years. As such, there are recurring themes within it. If you understand these three concepts, you will be ahead of the vast majority of the working population.

  •    The Golden Rule of Networking… This rule states that effective networking is about giving to others first (with no expectation of any return) and simply hoping that things will come back to you. Your entire networking existence should be about finding ways to help or give to others … referrals, businesses, contacts, information, encouragement, your time … give, give, give. Trust me, it will come back to you.
  • The Quintessential Elements Of Networking Relationships… All things being equal, we do business with people we Know, Like, and Trust. In fact, all things being unequal, we still do things with those we Know, Like, and Trust. So everything you do involving others needs to center on you getting to KNOW them (and not necessarily them you) … you being perceived as LIKABLE to them … and, you conducting yourself so they feel they can TRUST you.
  • Every Contact Has Opportunity … We are all a little guilty of this: Dismissing someone as not being of consequence to us. Know this, however, while everyone may not be your next employer or key business contact, everyone is somehow connected to one (directly or indirectly). Thus, treat everyone as if they have that potential and eventually good things will follow.  

 Understand (and really think about) these themes. They are important, as they serve the foundation upon which all effective networking activity is built.

Networking: What Is It Really?

Networking Works. It may not work exactly how you want … It may not work exactly when you want … It may not work exactly where you want. But it works.

The first step to making it work for you, however, is understanding what it really is. A working definition for networking is

“Two or more people working towards their mutual benefit.”

Networking is helping and being helped by others, and nothing more.

Given that definition, the universe of potential networking is very broad. The universe does include prospecting and selling, but it is much bigger than that. It also includes, servicing clients, attending events, volunteering, and, even socializing.

In fact, successful networking is something you need to focus on every waking moment. It is not something born out of the 80’s, 90’s or new millennium… It has been part of life since the human existence.

It has been part of everything in your life. Not just finding jobs or getting clients more than getting promotions. It is also (but not limited to) finding a golf league, spouse, and babysitter (and not always in that order). Networking is nothing more than humans interacting and somehow working together to survive and prosper.

Be Patient

Joining any networking group and expecting immediate results is unrealistic. I am often asked by people in networking groups how long it takes before seeing benefits (referrals)?One way to answer the question would be for you to ask yourself, “How long does it take for me to make a buying decision when I’m the prospect?” Do you normally begin doing business with someone after one meeting, one networking event, one phone call discussion? Probably not.

You have to invest the time in building rapport with others to get the most out of your networking efforts. If you’re not willing to invest the time, then you probably should find a thick phone book and get busy making cold calls.

The lesson to be learned here is to be patient, spend time building rapport with others, and make sure you let everyone know that you want to help them first. When you’ve accomplished those things the referrals will come your way.

Patience Road Sign

Business Cards, Coffee & Tire Tread: Professional Services Franchise Overhead

Every business has overhead. Also referred to as indirect expenses, overhead are/is expenditures a business must make to function, but this outlay does not contribute directly to the generation of profits.

For example, most businesses need to buy (or lease) office furniture for employees to be able to function. Without the furniture, the employee could not effectively work. The office furniture itself, however, does not produce profit.

Some other examples of business overhead could include …

  • ·         Utilities: Gas, water and electricity keeps things running, but may not add direct value to the product or service.
  • ·         Taxes: These governmental expenditures add nothing to the cost of goods sold, but they do serve to support the underlying infrastructure as well as provide protection from fire and theft.
  • ·         Professional Service: Legal and accounting services are necessary, but they do not doanything to ramp up product (or service) value.
  • ·         Insurance: This provides for protection against certain catastrophic events (fire, flood, theft, etc.), but nothing to directly improve sales.

Like any other business, professional services franchises likely incur many of these overhead items.  There are three, however, that you might not consider … three that are vital to business success. Business cards. Coffee. And Tire Tread.

Success within the professional services industry (whether or not the business is franchised) hinges on relationships. As all things being equal people do business with those they know, like and trust. To build this involves networking – getting up out of your office and connecting with people.

So, if you are contemplating a professional services franchise (or better still, you own one), you need to factor in [to things] those three things. To be successful, you will have to …

  • ·         Pass out a plethora of business cards;

 

  • ·         Down more than a recommended amount of coffee; and

 

  • ·         Log countless miles on your car.

 

Technology Affecting Your Networking ?

The rise of the Internet, social media, and mobile telecommunications has allowed us to connect with more people, across greater distance at lightning speed. These are networking tools (modern day invention of the wheel).

Technology, however, has done nothing to change the foundational aspects of networking. That is, despite technology, you still really only associate, refer and do business with those we know, like and trust.

These three fundamental elements of relationship come from within (gut feelings) and technology has done nothing to alter that. In the human species, the notion of know, like and trust has been with us since before recorded time. It is part of our DNA.

Do Not Measure ROI

 

Do not try to measure ROI on networking. True networking is about faith … doing the right things and having faith that those things will come back to you somehow. You have to remember that networking is not an exact science, where A + B = C.

Networking works, but it is completely unpredictable. The benefits will happen, but …

  • They may not likely happen HOW you want them to … You go to a networking function, hoping to meet a new client but you end up meeting a great new vendor. Networking worked.
  • They may not likely happen WHERE you expect them to … You go to a networking function hoping to meet a new client. Nothing happens. Then you meet one, but at the store as you stop for milk on the way home. Networking worked.
  • They may not likely happen WHEN you want them to … You go to a networking function hoping to meet a new client. Nothing happens. But then one, five or even 20 years later someone from that event becomes a client. Networking worked.

Based on this, how you can make a rational ROI calculation on networking, so why bother. Networking works … have faith in that.

Not Your Typical Franchise Opportunity

Not Your Typical Franchise Opportunity

Just released… a short video that provides a summary of the benefits associated with the AmSpirit Business Connections franchise opportunity.

Visit: www.amspirit.com/franchise/php.

Share this with anyone you know interested in an affordable opportunity that would dovetail nicely with their current business or profession.

For more information on the affordable and empowering AmSpirit Business Connections franchise opportunity go to www.amspirit/franchise.php or contact Frank Agin at frankagin@amspirit.com

Click here for a PDF version; Not Your Typical Franchsie Opportunity

What Moves You?

Weather permitting, Marie Trudeau (a member of the City Center Chapter and an Insurance agent with W.E. Davis Insurance Agency) takes her motor-powered scooter to her Wednesday morning Chapter meetings. Do you have an unusual means of getting to your Chapter meeting? Please share

 More importantly, what moves you beyond that? What moves you to give referrals? What moves you to bring guests? What moves you to do all you do to be a successful member? Think on it and share what you came up with.

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Become The Person You Want To Network With

 

To become successful in networking you need to become the person you want to network with, which AmSpirit Business Connections Founder Frank Agin calls Foundational Networking.

Most networking books, programs and seminars focus on networking skills and techniques. They talk about 30-second commercials, passing out business cards and how to work a room. In the normal course of networking, however, most everyone is less concerned about networking skills and techniques.

Whether they know it or not, people are totally consumed with whether or not they feel they KNOW YOU, LIKE YOU and TRUST YOU.

Getting people to know, like and trust you, however, has very little to do with networking skills and techniques. It is about having the right attitudes and habits.

Think about it …

We all know the person who struggles to have a great network. Sure, they have a great networking skills and techniques … wonderful 30-second commercial and impeccable business card etiquette. Their attitudes and habits stink … they have a gloomy disposition … they are always focused on what they can get … and you can never count on them.

Then we all know the person with a great network. They do this despite the fact they do a terrible job talking about what they do and never have business cards. Why? They have great networking attitudes and habits. They are always optimistic … they are focused on helping others … and they have unwavering integrity and reliability.

Call it Foundational Networking … asking yourself what are the attitudes and habits of the people you want to associate with … why is it that you know, like and trust them? … and then adopt those qualities yourself. In essence, BECOME THE PERSON YOU WANT TO NETWORK WITH.

You want to associate with that person who casts an optimistic, confident and approachable presence … you need to become optimistic, confident and approachable. Become the person you want to network with.

You want to associate with people who are always looking for ways to give to others … you need to develop that altruistic disposition. Become the person you want to network with.

You want to associate with people who are perceived at being honorable, trustworthy and reliable … you need to have this same unwavering integrity. Become the person you want to network with.

With Foundational Networking, there are three categories of attitudes and habits you need to consider.

  • Presence: Do you cast a positive and attractive persona, one that compels people to wan to associate with you?
  • Altruism: To what extent are you committed to giving to the world around you? Not just money, but also time, talent … even encouragement.
  • Integrity: How do you interact with other? Are you trusting? Are you trustworthy? Are you reliable?

Foundational networking is really about focusing your energies on those attitudes and habits that make you a good person of the world … those are the people you want to associate; that is the person you need to become.

Born This Way

Are great networkers born or made? Born! Humans are born to networking. Networking is in our DNA. We have been doing it since the beginning of time. Early humans increased their chances of survival (whether they knew it or not) if they worked towards their mutual benefit.

Today, many people do not give themselves enough credit … they think they do not know how to network because they are comfortable with sales or are having trouble finding a job.

They forget that their life is full of all sorts of examples of great networking … they formed study groups in college … got information on good employment opportunities … they connected with a spouse (likely through networking).

We are born to network.