Why is networking sometimes uncomfortable? For many people, it’s the expectation and pressure of ‘pushing’ your message. If you’re basically a shy person, this sales approach doesn’t come naturally.
Well, RELAX! With a simple shift in thinking, you can actually ENJOY networking.
Networking is NOT Selling
Effective, engaging and enjoyable networking is an important component of your marketing strategy. But it’s a marketing strategy that is NOT about using people for your gain. Rather, it IS about a win/win exchange of contacts, information, business referrals, and tips that usually help the other person.
When you learn something new that excites you, and the other person learns something interesting or hopeful, a successful networking relationship has begun.
First, Give a Referral or Helpful Tip
Effective networkers are eager to GIVE FIRST. By showing generosity without the expectation to receive, you create enormous goodwill. You also:
- Diffuse any pressure related to ‘selling’ yourself or your business.
- Subconsciously establish a subtle “owe me one”. This will come back to you, whether or not it’s the same person – it’s good energy flow!
- Feel good about yourself, which leads to a relaxed, enjoyable encounter.
When Networking, First Ask to Help the Other Person
It’s as easy as this: Right after you exchange names and establish each others’ jobs/titles, ask the other person:
“I’m constantly meeting new people. What would be an ideal referral for you?”
This question is about GIVING first. It naturally leads to a great conversation about the other person. You may have a connection or referral to help them. But even if you don’t, just say:
“I’ll definitely keep my ears open and contact you when I have a referral.”
And guess what? Nine times out of ten, they will ask you the same question in return. Voila! You’ve just created a memorable networking exchange with positive goodwill.
What networking tips work for you?
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ABOUT Lisa M. Chapman: With offices in Nashville Tennessee, but working virtually with international clients, Lisa M. Chapman serves her clients as a business and marketing coach, business planning consultant and social media consultant. As a Founder of iBrand Masters, a social media consulting firm, Lisa Chapman helps clients to establish and enhance their online brand, attract their target market, engage them in meaningful social media conversations, and convert online traffic into revenues. Email: Lisa @ LisaChapman.com