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Ten tips for effective networking.

Ten Tips for Effective Networking

All things being equal, people will definitely do business with, and refer business to, individuals they know, like and trust. Networking is simply the ability to develop and cultivate a large and diverse group of people who will gladly and continually refer business to you, while you in turn do the same for them. Most people have a sphere of influence--those they know both directly and indirectly, ranging from family members and business associates to even plumbers and hair stylists -- of about 250 people. We want not only that person's business, but the business of everyone in his/her sphere of influence as well.

How do we do it? It's possible to network with practically anyone in just about any setting from airplane to PTA meeting to racquetball court. The following tips will prove effective:

1. Focus on meeting the center-of-influence

people. They are the

ones who have been in the same

area for quite a while, know a lot

of people and have established a

good reputation. They have a

large sphere of influence. 2. When meeting a networking

prospect for the first time, invest

99.9% of the conversation

asking questions about that person's

business. A crucial point: they

want to talk about their

business, not yours. Let them. 3. Questions should be open ended

(questions that cannot be

answered "yes" or "no"). Examples:

"How did you get your start in

the widget business?" "What

advice would you give someone

just starting out in the widget

business?" "What do you enjoy

the most about your industry?"

These are questions which will

not come across as too personal

but that the person will be

pleased to answer. 4. The best and most impressive

question you can ask is, "Mary,

what can I do to know if

somebody I'm talking to would be a

good prospect for you." This

shows you care and will be on the

lookout to find this person new

business. That person will then

be more inclined to find new

business for you. 5. Get his business card. It's the

easiest way to follow up with

this person. If the person asks for

yours, give it to him, but realize

that it takes more than that to

have that person thinking of you

when it comes time to do

business or refer someone to you.

You want his card more than you

want him to have yours. 6. Send a handwritten thank you

note that day. It will probably

arrive the very next day. Very

impressive. Suggested note:

"Dear Jim, thank you. It was

nice meeting you this morning.

Whenever I can refer business

your way, I certainly will."

Again, you've let this person

know you have his interest and

needs in mind. 7. Send clippings from newspaper

or magazine articles which

relate to or affect your networking

prospects. Suggestion: as you

read, ask yourself, "Is there

anyone in my network who would

appreciate knowing about this

information?" 8. Send something every month to

keep you on their mind.

Example: a note pad containing

your name and picture. They

can actually use it. Instead of

throwing it away, they will keep

it on their desk and be reminded

of you whenever they or

somebody in their sphere of influence

needs your products, goods or

services. 9. Send leads. Action speaks louder

than words. If you can possibly

match sellers and buyers, you

will increase your network by

two every time (so long as you are

matching good, honest people). 10. And finally, send a handwritten

thank you note whenever you

receive a lead, regardless of

whether it results in a sale.

Example: "Susan, thank you for

your kind referral of Mr. Jones.

You can be assured that anyone

you refer to me will be treated

with the utmost of

professionalism." This will reinforce the

referrer's feeling that you were

and are the right person to get

their referrals.

Bob Burg is president of Burg Communications, Inc. and a nationally known speaker in the field of memory improvement training as well as networking. The author of several cassette series on networking and memory training, he offers a program specifically for corporations and associations.
COPYRIGHT 1991 National Society of Public Accountants
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Practice Pointers
Author:Burg, Bob
Publication:The National Public Accountant
Article Type:column
Date:Jun 1, 1991
Words:701
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