Why Networking is Necessary to Build Your Business

I’m a big proponent of networking.  Not only is it a fabulous way to meet like-minded business owners like yourself, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to receive quality leads and referrals.

The key to success in any networking group is easy: commitment.  Be an active, professional, engaging member that contributes to and respects your fellow networkers by supporting them.

Sound familiar does it?

It should because just like in business (or sales), networking all comes down to relationship building (in July I wrote about cultivating quality relationships, be sure to check it out).  Everyone knows we want to do business with people we know, like and trust, so what better way to attract new clients than from people you ALREADY know, like and trust?!

With all of the options out there how do you decide which networking group you should join?

Well, start by asking yourself a few questions…

  1. What do I want to accomplish by joining a networking group?
  2. Am I willing to refer other business owners to my family/friends?
  3. Do I have the time to commit to this group?
  4. Do the members of a prospective group align with your values and beliefs?

A few mistakes I’ve noticed at some of the groups I’m familiar with…

  1. People don’t view the meetings as a commitment.  If you want to see results (gain leads/referrals/do business) you need to put the time in!  Just like any other business meeting, put your weekly, monthly, whatever the frequency, networking group on the calendar.
  2. Taking calls and checking their phone constantly throughout the meeting.  Would you rudely pull up your email or text messages in front of a client during a scheduled meeting?  No way!  So don’t do it when you’re amongst your peers, it’s just being a good professional. As my mentor says (she wrote a book with this title), “They Way You Do Anything, Is the Way You Do Everything”.  Realize that how you show up at networking meetings is a direct reflection of how you show up elsewhere, including with referrals.
  3. Don’t be a lame referral source.  Some newbies join and are all hyped up and excited to do business so they write up leads for everyone and their brother.  Only those leads are dead ends.  Make sure you leads are genuine business opportunities for someone and the person you write down on the form is actually expecting a phone call.

In the end, networking and the act of giving out referrals to those trusted professionals you’ve cultivated relationships with is just good business karma. You are creating a win/win/win for your network, the business owner receiving the lead and yourself as being a great connector.

What you get out of a networking group is typically in direct proportion to what you give.  Just remember to give in the spirit of giving, not giving to get.

Have you had success with networking groups?  Do you think they are worth the time and efforts?

In the meantime let’s chat!  Sign up for a complimentary Strategy Call and let’s get you grounded and ready for your best year yet in 2016!

To Your Continued and Ever Growing Success,

Dana

6 Ways to Cultivate Quality Relationships

Quality Relationships

The power of a great relationship is profound.  

Take a look at any thriving, successful business, no matter the industry, and you will find one major similarity:  the owners know how to build and maintain quality relationships. This is true for their relationships with customers and team members, as well as those with fellow business owners.  They make quality relationships a priority because they know that genuine relationships are vital to growth and they understand that sometimes these relationships may not be mutually beneficial. Here are six simple ways to cultivate great relationships in your business and personal lives.

1. Get Personal

Before you’re a business owner, you’re a human being.  And we all thrive on making connections.  The best way to do so is to get personal! Clients choose to work with you because they know, like and trust you.  Take the time to get to know your clients on a personal level.  Inquire about their family,  friends and challenges in and out of the office.  This not only allows you to better understand how to serve, support and help them achieve goals, but you will be the first person to come to mind when they meet someone in need of your services and expertise. To take things a step further… a hand written thank you note goes a long way, far longer than a quick, generic email or text.  That personal touch says a lot about you and how you’ll treat your current and future clients.

2. Be a Good Listener

Isn’t it the worst when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone and they are subconsciously nodding their head, saying words like, “yeah”, “yup”, “uh huh” all while looking everywhere EXCEPT at you?!  Don’t be that person.  Let people know you care by listening to what they have to say.  When you actively listen to someone, they know it, they can feel it.  You’re providing them with your undivided attention and demonstrating to them that what they have to say is valuable. By being a good listener you’ll also find that people are more apt to share feedback with you (good or bad) since you have made yourself approachable.  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  We’ve all heard that quote somewhere along the way in our careers, and there’s a reason for that… everyone wants to feel important and valued – period.

3. Trust & Expect the Best

Trust others and they will trust you back.  People know when you genuinely believe in them and have confidence in their ability to succeed. Look for opportunities to show that you trust others and that you yourself can be trustworthy.   See others larger, more powerful and more influential then they may even be able to see themselves right now.  Let people know you don’t have low expectations and watch them rise to the occasion; they want to live up to the trust placed in them. 

4. Give Back

People want to be associated with others who are giving and want to work for people and companies that truly care.  When you serve others and give value, be it time, energy or resources, and show generosity to those you love and respect, whether they be family, colleagues or employees, it encourages them to be more productive and quite frankly to want to give more in return. Your ability to serve, share, show gratitude and get active within your community becomes contagious, inspiring others to follow suit.  

5. Honesty is the Best Policy

This goes unsaid and it’s great to be reminded of its importance. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s ok to say so, however I recommend you take it a step further and let them know you will look into it and get back to them.  You can, and will, still be viewed as an expert in your field.  Don’t try to spin a response to put others minds at ease, that ease will only be temporary until they find out your answer wasn’t completely accurate or truthful.

Honesty is ALWAYS respected, appreciated and expected.  

This includes admitting mistakes and learning from them, correcting your missteps and making things right.  I remember being taught early on in my corporate career that when an error or mistake happens involving a client, one of the best ways to diffuse the situation is to thank the client for bringing this to our attention and ultimately allowing us the opportunity to learn from it and create a new audit of checks and balances to ensure it does not get repeated.

6. Take Responsibility and Take the Lead

In order for any relationship to grow, someone must take action.  Be the one who takes the lead and you will gain the respect of many.  Lead the charge, make the first move, ask the first question, be first in line, offer the olive branch, say you’re sorry, forgive.  Those are all easy ways to show you are a trailblazer, someone who takes action instead of waiting in the wings.  This also includes being a mentor and showing others that you lead by example.

Stronger relationships create less stress, promote higher productivity, and improve just about every aspect of business.  The time you take to cultivate quality relationships will have a profound effect on the overall success of your business.

I pride myself on establishing lasting, genuine relationships.  I do this by interacting with my network through multiple venues on a consistent basis.  It has been said that for every 30 days that go by that your contacts don’t hear from you, you lose 10% influence over them.  Truth be told, I’m guessing it is even higher then this in the busy, over-crowded tech world we live in.

That being said I’m a big proponent of establishing a system that allows for a “touch” point with each of your connections every 25-30 days, including a quick phone call to them every 45-60 days.  With a combination of touches like newsletter, holiday cards, hand-written note cards, random unexpected email or text and a phone call to say you are thinking of them, it will not be possible to become that person who is “out of sight, out of mind”.

So how do you develop and grow your relationships?  Let me know in the comments below!

To Your Continued and Ever-Growing Success, Dana

P.S.  If you are ready to grow your business, whether that be in number of clients served, team size and/or overall revenue, schedule your COMPLIMENTARY Strategy Call with me today!