The Art Of Networking: Find Your Kindred Spirits
The one's you just click with ...
Posted by Jacky Sherman on 10/02/2021 @ 8:00AM
One of the great things about networking is when you find those people who are kindred spirits, you just seem to see the world through the same lens. This week I’m handing over to one of my own kindred spirits, Paul Green, who se up and runs the Business Community here in Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes ...
Networking may be online right now, but Paul says it can be just as effective as before!
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I first met Paul in 2003 when I first set up my own coaching company and he was just starting his own consultancy service and for a short time, we worked together as associates for the same company,
Then he set up his networking service in 2011 just as I was introducing my new franchise Asentiv. I owe a great deal to Paul for his support and help in those early days and today. So, it was no surprise to me that when he took up my offer of writing a guest blog post he chose 'building your business through relationships' as his subject and as I read it I was nodding the whole way through.
So, here's Paul's take on the importance of building relationships to win business.
It's an old adage that people buy from people, but it is true and has stood the test of time. The reason for this is that a buying decision is an emotional one.
Whether your purchase is to solve a problem or issue, or to meet a need or a want, ultimately you will have chosen the seller based on a good feeling about that supplier.
There are 7 reasons people buy:
This still holds true in the digital, social media-driven world. Whilst a lot of purchases (certainly in the current pandemic) are made online, the vendor established a level of confidence in you that had you choose to place your business virtually.
So, as a business, how do you generate that emotional connection with a potential customer? Networking is one great way of doing this.
Whilst, at the time of writing, face-to-face networking is not possible due to lockdown, there has never been a better time to get out there and introduce your business to the world: low-to-no cost, no travel time/costs, no geographic constraints. It is not the same experience being at the end of a webcam, however, the same principles apply whether you are physically or virtually networking.
The primary objective in the networking arena is not to sell, but to develop relationships with those people that you meet. You can do this in a number of ways:
Be yourself – let people know your personality and show people who you are. Whilst there is an element of 'front' or bravado with most people, let's face it, you're not going to share your intimate secrets with a stranger. Don't be afraid to give people an insight into your personal world, not just your business persona.
Be generous – think about how you can help and support people that you are networking with. This may be advice that you give out, spending your valuable time getting to know someone better by having a 121 with them or maybe referring them. One 'gift' that you can give is listening. It is amazing how quickly you can connect with someone, giving them the experience that you have truly listened to what they have to say.
Be credible – in order for people to do business with you or refer you, you need to be credible. You need to instil confidence in your ability to deliver your product or service. Testimonials and case studies can be a great way to demonstrate your ability. A third-party reference to your ability is always better than it coming directly from you about how good you are.
Be your word – basically do what you are saying you are going to do. If you offer to do something for somebody, then make sure you deliver. Likewise, if you receive a referral, follow it up and give feedback to the person that referred you. It is very easy to undermine people's confidence in you by not keeping what is effectively a promise; it creates an impression of you as a person; one that you don't want.
You can see from the above list that it is less about what you do, but more about how, or rather who, you are being. We are human beings after all, not human doings!
So, when developing relationships, be present to who is in the room (albeit virtually at the moment) and be conscious of how you are showing up as a credible business person, someone who people hopefully want to get to know and do business with.
Thank you Paul! Paul Green is the owner and founder of The Business Community which is a membership organisation built on collaboration and support to help businesses grow and be better at what they do.
They are the only events that regularly get me up before it's light!
Until next time ...
Would you like to know more?
If anything in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about Paul or The Business Community, call him on 01604 269610 or visit buscomm.co.uk and book onto a meeting.
About Jacky Sherman ...
I help people build and maintain productive working relationships both with their work colleagues and with a wider network to win more business. I do this by combining my skills in coaching, mediation and training with my extensive experience in senior management.
What I love most about my work is when my clients get those a-ha moments because I know they have seen for themselves the way that they want to move forward. Then they will achieve their ambitions.
Helping people who are having challenges with their working relationships gives me enormous pleasure. It was my privilege when working in health care to see how people working together can make the impossible seem easy and accomplish miracles as a result.
So helping people build or restore strong relationship with their colleagues makes even the hardest work easier, alleviates distress for the individual and reduces problems for the whole organisation.
In all this work trust is an essential ingredient to winning business so most of my work comes through referrals. Referrals come through strong business relationships so it was a natural extension for me to train others in how to get consistent and predictable referrals from their network.
What a fantastic way to earn a living!
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