Networking takes time, energy and money too, and unless you have an over abundance of all three, it’s wise to start to create your 2017 networking plan in order to be better assured of the maximum return on your networking time and investment.
My networking philosophy has always been that “more” is not necessarily “better” and that it is often more effective to cultivate relationships within a group or to develop a power partner circle to be your “go-to” networking resources.
Consider taking these action steps to ramp up your networking success in the upcoming year:
Do better follow-up
Many people network very actively and attend a volume of meetings and events every week. Cards are shared, sound bites of information exchanged and then it is on to the next person. Business relationships take time and nurturing and these are best accomplished after the event or meeting when there is the opportunity for more substantive conversation and sharing. Follow-up is the name of the game and it doesn’t stop with a single call or meeting. Relationships take long-term cultivation, especially if the networking synergies and chemistry are right.
Use the three I’s to stay on the grid
Let’s face it, your networking contacts are busy people and although you want to believe that they will keep you in the forefront of their minds, it’s quite possible that you will fall off their radar screen. Checking in and touching base won’t work. What will work however is adding value to the relationship at each touch point. Introductions, invitations and information are three of the best ways to stay top of mind and relevant. Consider using these types of touch points as you attempt to nurture your networking relationships. (Feel free to shoot me an email if you have specific questions on this outreach strategy!)
It’s quite possible that you can go through many weeks or months without a single business contact asking you for an introduction. Does that mean you can’t be a valuable networker; of course not. The best networkers are proactive and go out of their way and to make proactive introductions because they see that there are synergies between the people that they are connecting.
These connections might be because the two individuals work with the same types of clients however they don’t provide the same type of service or they both work with business owners and as trusted advisors to their clients they can make introductions for each other. The key is to do the connecting without being asked!
It’s always good to start off the new year with an action plan on how you want to move forward, however the key to success is to commit to the plan and to keep it going.
Let me know if I can help you with your networking endeavors!