- It's Important!
by: Sue and Chuck DeFiore
opportunities are everywhere. Don't let them pass you by.
that there is more to networking than greeting people. Develop a step-by-step
plan for how you'll build relationships and how you can effectively tell your
story. Don't forget your 30 second commercial to tell your story.
in on specific groups of people. Who are the ideal prospects for your business?
Do they live nearby? What activities do they participate in? Try networking groups
meetings. For those of us in lease purchasing, we network with real estate agents,
accountants, financial planners, and a multitude of others.
where you'll be most likely to find your ideal prospects. Do they belong to specific
organizations or associations? Do they frequent particular events, performances
or recreational facilities? Again, for those of us in lease purchasing, investors,
buyers and sellers are just the beginning.
Identify organizations, events, professional groups and social clubs whose members
meet your profile characteristics, and get involved. Get to know people, and let
them know what you do. Volunteer for committees, attend conferences, and maximize
opportunities that might spin off from the formal sessions. For those of you in
lease purchasing, and even other businesses, become an expert. Give seminars,
speeches, write articles. Become involved and get your name out there.
on your ability to make small talk. Have some prepared topics in mindcurrent
events, sports, vacation plans. And be sure to ask open-ended questions of the
other person like "What is it you enjoy most about your work, or where you
live or your free time?" Remember, too, that having a good conversation depends
greatly on being an active, courteous listener. Again, your thirty second commercial
is a must. And let's emphasize again being a good and courteous listener.
organizations dedicated to business networking. Chambers of commerce, tenant associations
and networking clubs offer opportunities for you to meet and greet. Look for the
groups in your area. Many times your local paper has a certain day of the week
that lists all of these types of meetings. If you don't see it, call your paper
and ask about it.
for partners. Specifically, look for other businesses that complement what you
do and might be a good source of referrals. Again, those of us in lease purchasing
have it easy. We have a ton of people to work with. For those of you in other
businesses, think of who would complement your business. If you are a travel agent,
how about hotels, spas; a flower shop, what about bridal shops, catering services,
party planners... you get the idea.
look at networking as a sales opportunity. Instead, look at it as a reconnaissance
missiona chance for you to learn something and enjoy the scenery. There
is a proper time and place for sales calls. This is a very important point. Read
it over and over again. Networking is not sales.
a habit of being patient, polite and friendly to people, whether or not you're
in an "orchestrated" setting. This is just good business behavior. If
you are going to run a business, at least a successful one, these are just some
of the characteristics and behavior you will need to employ.
do something constructive with the names and information you've gathered. Stay
in touch with the most meaningful contacts. Again, those of us in lease purchasing
know the importance of following up and have numerous ways to do so. For those
of you in other types of business, develop a few types of follow-up methods; such
as phone, fax, newsletter, brochure, card and letter.
introductions and contacts that simply come by chance are like gifts. Be sure
to thank anyone who helps you network, and when appropriate pay a nice referral
fee. Your ability to be seen as a giver rather than a taker will spread the word
that you are someone with whom people want to do business.
2001 DeFiore Enterprises
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