Does your network actually work? Everyone networks with others. Sales people network with clients. The clergy network with their congregation. Company heads network with their departments who network with their staff who ultimately network with the customer.
Newspapers, broadcasters and others network with their audiences, more so now with the explosion of social media. There are multiple ways to get there. Doctors network with nurses and with patients. It is the way they do their job. Make no mistake. We all network.
Networking with others is not brain surgery. Why is meeting people and cracking the networking code so difficult? We meet people all the time. Simply introducing yourself through face-to-face contact or over the phone or in a newspaper to readers… is but an introduction. The network will only work when you build a relationship.
As a writer, it is incumbent upon me to build the powerful relationship through the words I write each week. And while I am reaching out to you my reader you have a network of relationships with others that allows for the extension of the message.
Meeting is not simply greeting, i.e. “met” does not equal “net.” If you are honorable and noble, you typically will attract people of the same ilk.
People network for lots of reasons. Some simply want friendship or support. Others are looking for new employment or business opportunities. Promotions and lateral moves are one of the reasons why LinkedIn and Facebook have become popular communication tools.
Sales people are looking for new customers by horizontally marketing to reach out to new buyers but vertically penetrating deeper with existing relationships. Like it or not… everyone is in business, whether you are an employee or the owner. Andrew Grove noted… “You are a business with one employee — yourself.”
Many people network in all the wrong ways, focusing on themselves rather than the other party in the relationship. Networking is not selling yourself or your ideas. Meeting people face-to-face or on-line is but the first critical step.
Most people mistakenly think upside down. It is not who you know and not who knows you. The big question: How are you positioned in their mind? Are you making consistent evolvement in building your relationship? We all resist change but we embrace progress. Progress, development, growth, advancement, improvement and forward movement should be your guiding measurements.
Speaker/author Dean Lindsay in his book “Cracking the Networking CODE” defines it as the six P’s of Progress: Pleasure, Peace of mind, Profit, Prestige, Pain avoidance and Power.
Lindsay says “This goes for eating, shopping, exercising, hugging, crying, working, going to movies- whatever… we think these acts bring us these Six Ps of Progress.”
Lindsay feels you can break it down to a four letter acronym, C-O-D-E. The C stands for creating a personal relationship with curb appeal.
The O speaks to the face-to-face relationship, not alternatives like on-line or e-mail or Facebook. It is harder to gain trust through the cloud, which is why many people find themselves signing up for the $100 million inheritance from the exiled leader in Nigeria.
The D in the acronym simply means to deliver a solid first impression. The old saying “You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, do not screw it up” is true.
The E could be the most important part of the C-O-D-E. It means to earn trust. Lindsay says the best place to start is to ask yourself “What do you trust? Will it provide a promise of progress?”
To earn trust, one must legitimately be interested in the other person. Be interested; do not try to be interesting. Ask questions… who, what, when, where, why, how questions. Always remember the person asking the questions in the interview process is in control of the interview. Plus, there is nothing people would rather talk about more than themselves.
Lindsay says meeting someone new is like a marketing research. In the sales profession, it is all about finding the pain and providing solutions, much like the doctor who examines a patient.
Finally, Lindsay suggests: “Find the next move… something they said to allow follow-up.” Remember to use people’s names with four quick steps: 1- prepare to catch the name, 2- repeat it back, 3- repeat it naturally and 4- repeat it when parting.
Is your net working?