Networking is like a piece of art. One applications many different techniques to each project and the results are simply amazing. But there is a lot that goes into creating this masterpiece. Some people take months or even years to finish a great painting. Networking is about building relationships and that takes time.
Most companies have their sales force out beating the streets and getting into every networking event that they can get into. Think about this, "Is your company growth solely dependent upon your sales team"? The companies that are really making a difference are the companies who teach everyone to network. When you can educate your team about The Art of Networking, you will be ahead of the game.
Networking is the best way to grow your business. The amount of growth is immeasurable because the sky is the limit when developing relationships.
Word of mouth networking has been around for years and is absolutely the best marketing you can have.
It is really a reflection of how well you take care of your customers. The better the relationship, the more word of mouth referrals you get.
The true Art of Networking takes "Word of Mouth" to a whole new level. Networking allows you to create your own personal sales team, design your own marketing strategy, educate your sales team and most of all be accountable for customer service.
How do you feel when someone comes up to you while at a networking event and throws an elevator pitch at you. If it is not a product that you are interested in purchasing, does not it sound like Charlie Brown's teacher? Personally I like to hear success stories that I can pass on. Have you ever walked out of a networking event with a story that you can not wait to tell someone else? If you have, then the person who told that story gets "networking"
Here are the five brush strokes to creating a masterpiece using the true Art of Networking:
1. Have a business card that someone can write on. When you receive a business card, write down where you met this person.
2. When speaking with someone, ask who is their target position within a company? Now write on the card what type of connection they are trying to make. HR? CEO? EA (Executive Assistant)? CFO?
3. Ask them to tell you a story about someone they helped? Try not to ask "What do you do?" Ask for a success story so that you get a better idea of how they help people.
4. If someone asks you first, "what do you do?", Tell them a story. Share a story with them that gives them the type of customer you helped, what was their problem, what product or service you used to help them and most of all, how did they benefit? Think about, "How much money did they save?" Or "How many positions did they save?"
5. Follow up. Following up is like painting a picture, letting it sit and going back for touch ups to bring it to life. The follow up is the most important. After leaving the networking event, send emails to the people for what you have a new card. Thank them for sharing their story and either ask them for a one on one or try to connect them with others who are working with the same company contact.
Not everyone is going to be the perfect contact for you, but how about Pay It Forward? That's what makes The Art of Networking turn into a beautiful masterpiece. Your Sales team will have many success stories and so will the leadership team, but what about everyone else in the company? If you give everyone on your team a story that they can share with others, how powerful would that be? Now you have just used the Art of Networking within your own company. Think about it.
Everyone in the company goes to a networking arena. Everyone you asked? Absolutely. So what is a networking arena? How about a ball game, Bunko, the bowling alley, the golf course, a family get together, neighborhood barbeques, sunbathing, boating, and church. Of course you have the usual, the chamber, BNI, Rainmakers, Business Associations, Rotary, and events that call themselves "networking events".
You see, just about anywhere you are, there is an opportunity to "network". That's why it is important to share stories and build those relationships. A success story is like a good joke, it travels on and on. Educate others about the company successes and see for yourself the power of creating a masterpiece.