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We’ve all heard “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  We have learned top quality medications. buy zoloft online. official drugstore, does sertraline hcl generic zoloft work. that, to grow our businesses, we are going to have to network effectively.  So what do we typically do?

NETWORKING — THE TYPICAL APPROACH: We … well, we “network.”  We go to the same events, visit the same watering holes, talk to the same people.  We’ve joined a local networking group in which we pass around business cards and practice our elevator speeches.  This is supposed to lead to more business, so we double down on these efforts (I know some people who are members of several networking groups), and we wait … and wait … surely, this works, doesn’t it?

Networking groups have identified the right goal, that is, that the person with whom I network refers me to those within their networks whenever a need arises which I can fulfill.  order Indocin online But most of these formal groups have adopted the wrong approach, based on a premise which I believe to be false.  Call me crazy, but I will NEVER refer you to one of my friends or clients merely because we both paid a fee, you gave me your elevator speech and handed me one of your business cards.  My reputation and existing relationships were won too dearly to be gambled away.  And although I may be more vocal about this reservation than others, I’ll bet that you, in your heart of hearts, feel the same.

IF YOU WANT THAT REFERRAL, at least from me, there’s a few concepts you should understand – what networking is NOT, what networking truly is, what I MUST know about you, for example – and a few steps that you will want to take …

NETWORKING — WHAT IT’S NOT: Don’t conflate or confuse networking with sales.  In a sales conversation, I am talking directly to a prospect who has a budget concerning a possible match between his or her need and our products or services. Most folk approach networking with the “sales mindset,” that is, they maintain a secret hope of selling directly to the person with whom they are speaking.  With this mindset, they find themselves on a fishing expedition, trying to turn up a lead; unfortunately, the person with whom they are speaking comes to understand that they are the fish! (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but no one wants to be your dinner tonight.)  The resulting conversations are awkward, contrived, even tense.  They are characterized by polite listening without engagement.  No real relationship is begun, much less developed, and no resulting business ensues.

NETWORKING — WHAT IT IS: Networking groups, books, and blogs abound.  The point on which we all agree is that successful networking is about developing meaningful relationships with people who matter.  More than a casual or one-time association, relationships are all about connection.  They are built on trust, which itself is built on understanding.  Understanding is built by giving both information and energy.  In a meaningful relationship, I see you as more than a meal ticket, or as someone who refers me to the chef.  I come to value you … FOR YOU.  Because of what I am learning about you, because of connections we make, ultimately because of the “value” we exchange, I come to desire your “success” not because it will benefit me but because it will benefit you.  I actually care for you, and it shows.

The quoted words in the paragraph above – “value” and “success” – will be different for each relationship, so one has to have one’s ears open and be ready to invest in the other person. For example, I “hit it off” with one gentleman who I originally met in a Speed Networking event (more below).  We subsequently met for coffee several times over an 8-9 month period and really got to know one another.  About 6 weeks ago, this person applied for a lucrative position which required certain technical skills (which he had in abundance) as well as polished presentation skills (which jan 9, 2011 – buy no prescription prozac online. prozac long term. prozac from mexico. where to buy prozac . prozac recreational. australia , uk were somewhat less developed).  To land the job, he was required to make a formal presentation before a mock “client group,” and it had to be good.  Prior to his presentation, I met with him several times to establish his topic, develop his talking points and provide feedback on a couple of “dry runs.”  The end result? He landed the job despite stiff competition from a crowded field.

For this gentleman, “success” was securing work with another firm; the “value” he received was the knowledge, skills and confidence relative to delivering a superior presentation.  I don’t mean to toot my own horn; in fact, until now, I never intended to share the details with anyone.  And that’s pertinent: I invested in this man, with no promise of return.  Having done so, I now know that I know that I know that, should he ever hear of a need within his network for which we might provide a solution, he will recommend me in a heartbeat and do so with genuine conviction.  One can’t buy that type of goodwill, or barter for it, as seems to be the underlying premise of many of the faux isotretinoin without prescription networking groups.

NETWORKING — THE REFERRER’S MINDSET: let’s say that I’m talking to a client, and in the course of my interactions with him, I learn that he has a need to upgrade his marketing materials.  While we are fairly savvy in some of the processes needed to drive sales, we also know that the design and production of marketing brochures, websites, etc. are NOT our forte.

Now, I may have met you at a local Chamber event and know that you are a marketing consultant, but before I give my client your name and contact information, I MUST believe doxycycline dosage elderly doxycycline monohydrate for dogs generic doxycycline that you are a.) competent, that is, you have the ability to fully meet the need expressed, and b.) trustworthy, that is, you will always provide exceptional service.  In short, I have to know that you will make me look good for having referred you.

In addition to certain beliefs, I must have the Retin-A to sale desire to see YOU in particular succeed.  At my local chamber, I have personally met numerous marketing consultants.  Each one claims to provide the best service at unbeatable prices.  In an ideal world, I would like to see all of them have more business than they can handle, but in this particular instance, I only have ONE need in front of me and, therefore, just ONE referral to present.  Which brings us back to the importance of a personal connection between you and I.  If we have gotten to know one another at a deeper level, you move higher up in my “look to recommend” list; if you’ve provided me REAL value, such as I provided my friend seeking the new position, then you’ve got the referral and you’re GOLDEN!

NETWORKING — HOW TO POSITION the only preparation in the world for prevention of a premature ejaculation. buy dapoxetine in the usa in our pharmacy shop. buy doxycycline online, doxycycline hyclate diverticulitis, doxycycline hyclate dosage harm fetus can treat h pylori will doxycycline work for sinus infection YOURSELF FOR THAT REFERRAL

  1. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE between a prospect (someone who you hope buys your service) and a networking target (someone whose connections and good opinion matter).  Yes, one person can occupy both roles, but not (in your mind at least) simultaneously.
  2. Get out and meet NEW folk.  Seek these opportunities where your ideal business “referrers” are apt to congregate.  In our industry, this might be the local SHRM chapter.  Local civic organizations such as the Rotary or Kiwanis Clubs are also good bets.  Our local Chamber of Commerce sponsors a monthly “Speed Networking” event which has proven a very fruitful avenue for that initial introduction.
  3. Enter with the NETWORKING MINDSET, not the sales mindset.  You are there to meet others and explore possible relationships; NO ONE (at least in the short term) is at all interested in buying from you, so don’t go there.
  4. As you meet others, look for COMMON GROUND.  Assuming you chose a civic organization in which to network, make sure that the  organization addresses issues which you personally believe important.  This will give you something important to discuss and a place to put your efforts, because at some point you will want to …
  5. INVEST YOUR TIME AND ENERGY.  Find a way to serve the organization and work alongside those whom you seek to know.  One little known fact about relationship building is that it’s easier and more effective to build a relationship when you’re focused on something else, something larger than the relationship itself.  If, for example, we are working next to each other to implement the next fundraiser, and I am giving of my energy and expertise, you get to see me in action, to learn something of my competence and character, and I have opportunity to learn more about you.
  6. LISTEN FOR NEED.  As our relationship grows, seek to understand my world and learn about the issues with which I am wrestling.  As you do so, resist the urge to slip back into sales mode.  Do NOT look at me as your buyer; remember that a “win” in this context is that I will value you enough to pass your name along to those in my network at the appropriate time.
  7. HELP.  When you learn of a need and I indicate that I am open to help or suggestions, lend me a hand, whatever that looks like.  It may just be a listening ear; it may be a referral to someone you know; it may be a gratis gift of your services.  If the need lands in your “sweet spot,” i.e., it calls for your particular professional competencies, all the better: as you hit it out of the park, I get a chance to experience how good you really are.  Help me win, and anyone I know who has a similar need will hear your name.
  8. Finally, BE PATIENT.  Real relationships take time, and there is no shortcut here.  Rush it, fail to invest the face time and energy required, and you will become in my eyes one of the faceless mob (again!).  Hang in for the long haul, and maybe, just maybe, I will become one of your raving fans.  I will WANT to see you succeed and will have become your advocate.

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