Remember your purpose. When you approach targets, your primary purpose is to make contacts that can bloom into strong relationships, not to sell your product or service.
Networking and relationship building, like most good things, doesn’t happen instantly, it takes time. It must be developed in stages, nurtured, step-by-step, with patience, care and persistence. Relationship building starts the moment you see a target, even before you say a word or stick out your hand and say hello.
Never underestimate the impact of a first impression and how long it lasts. People long remember initial contacts and those impressions affect the manner in which they deal with you. So make a strong initial impression. Stand tall, smile, look directly at your target and offer your hand. Don’t try to bowl him/her over, just try to connect.
Don’t sell, build. Approach targets with the intention of getting to know them, building friendships and solid relationships. When you meet and get to know people, think what you can do for them and with whom you can match them. Can you give them leads or connect them with someone in your network?
Be selective in choosing your targets because you only have limited time and resources. Develop your instincts to hone in on targets with the best potential and avoid those who only want to take from you. These people have few good contacts and want entrée to your network partners.
Business expert Mitch Axelrod has developed a system that he calls “Rejection-Proof Networking.” The core of his system, which Mitch has refined over a 20-year period, is explained below.
In 1982, when Mitch was a financial planner, he wanted million dollar clients. So he developed a 5-step approach that he called “Take a Millionaire to Lunch.” Using this approach, he increased his income 600% in two years – from $16,000 in 1982 to $100,000 in 1984. From 1990 to 1995, he used his method again in a different business and increased his fees by 1000%. Mitch’s approach is:
1. List your 20 best centers of influence!
List the names of the 20 people you know who could help you most. Don’t pre-judge, pre-qualify or pre-determine if they will help you. Aim high! You can also make a second list of the wealthiest people you know.
2. Categorize each person as an A, B, or C resource.
A= Absolutely can help
B= Better than 50/50 chance
C= Can; maybe, but maybe not!
3. Send a letter to or call your A List. Ask them to meet you in person for 15 minutes.
Tell them, “I value your opinion. I trust you to tell me the truth. I’d like your advice, counsel and help.” Be genuine, sincere and really mean it! Don’t even think about trying to sell them anything. You want their advice and help. Period! Their help will be worth a small fortune to you.
4. When you meet them, explain What – Why – Who – How – Where.
What – you are doing and what your goals are. Be clear about what you want and where you want to go.
Why – you decided to do what you’re doing. Demonstrate your passion and commitment.
Who – you are looking to reach. Make a list of the type of people who would be in the best position to further your quest and give you access to their resources and relationships.
How – you want help. Describe the resources, relationships and results you are looking for. Be as detailed as you can.
Where – should I go next? Where can you send me to get what I’m looking for?
5. Now, ask one or all of these BIG questions:
“What would you do if you were me?”
“What advice would you give your best friend?”
“How would you handle this situation?”
“Who can I talk to – where should I go from here?”
Keep in mind that most people want to help. If you’re courageous and determined enough to ask, you will find the help you need. When people are approached to sign up for, or buy into something, they often get defensive and put up their guard. If they don’t buy the product or service, they may find it awkward to recommend it or the person who offered it. Their sales resistance will make it harder for them to be a networking resource for you.
When making a request of a contact, be direct and specific. State what you need clearly and descriptively. Be honest and up front about what you want and don’t be greedy. Be grateful for every effort made in your behalf.
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Sunday Tips”
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