I am sitting here in a Starbucks right now pondering the art of networking. How did I start pondering the art of networking? I just had met with my Thursday morning networking group and am going to have coffee with a potential networking partner soon to discuss how we can work together. Also, I ran into at the same Starbucks someone that I might work with in a similar profession. Makes me think about the art of networking at it’s finest.
As a social networking schmoozer I meet a lot of people online and also offline. The challenge is that some of the people that I meet are in the same field. In fact, I meet a lot of people that I will never be able to refer business, because there is only one Social Networking Schmoozer (that might change shortly) and so many health and wellness professionals, financial professionals, etc. I want to give leads to as many people as possible, and the challenge then becomes how do I work with everyone. What I have devised although not perfect, and I entertain comments on ways to improve is the art of networking.
Here is what I have devised on my own accord and borrowed from countless numbers of my fellow networkers, schmoozers, movers, and shakers.
1. I will not focus on referrals. When I can provide them they are great and I will definitely do my best to create referrals. At the same time I will never give enough referrals to enough business partners. Instead I focus on connections. I connect credit card processors with marketing professionals. Life insurance agents with financial advisers.The list goes on and on. If there is a speck of a connection I send the two parties an email and let the magic take over.
2. I attend at least three networking events every week and shoot for at least five. Thursday, which is today, is my big networking day. I go to at least two and sometimes three events just today. Friday is usually one or no networking events. That way by the end of the week I have new batch of connections to contact on Friday and Monday every week, keeping my pipeline fresh.
I do not cold call. I will not call someone that I have never met or connected with at an event or through social networking. Networking events and social networking comprise 90% of my business prospecting activities.
3. Everyone goes on my list. I might not be able to work with someone at the current moment, but I never know when that moment hits when I have a connection for someone or could use their services. List building is becoming an important function of my business and is something that I would like to go over with everyone here on a later post.
These are the big three easy steps that I adhere to with the art of networking. Now Schmooze away!