One of the most overlooked parts to your success, not just online, but in any field is networking.
Like it or not, “Its not what you know, but who you know” is a very real reality.
Some people think that this is not fair and spend forever moaning and griping about it. For me, Id rather just understand the reality of this, become an entrepreneur, and do what successful people do.
Networking is the fun part to your business. It is the part that I find is the easiest and can produce the greatest rewards.
Networking is simply building relationships. Relationships cannot just be beneficial to you from a business perspective, but from a personal perspective as well.
There are two very important points I want to make before I go any further. What I am outlining are strategies specifically to address how building relationships can benefit your businesses. We never ever build relationships with people purely for personal or financial gain. The rewards that come from networking are a side bonus. We build relationships with others because we love meeting and interacting with people. We always bring the attitude with us that we have the opportunity and ability to offer something of value as well.
The second important thing is these networking strategies apply just as much to the online world as it does to the physical world. Dont believe for a second you can hide behind your avatar on the computer. Everything you do must be backed by authenticity and sincerity or else your success with networking will be short-lived. If you are networking in the online world, these strategies will be applied through your online communication.
Get to know the other Person
After spending a whole day listening to entrepreneurs talk at a conference, we worked up the courage to approach our favourite speaker for the day after the seminar. We introduced ourselves, asked him if we could buy him a drink and then proceeded to talk about surfing, Australia, the US and travel. We spent the remainder of the evening into the early hours having a blast with him. Not once did we ask him anything business related or pester him for his million dollar secrets. The next day he found us to say goodbye, and spoke of the fantastic time he had with us. He gave us his personal details and said, “If you need any help with anything, give me a call.” That was a solid relationship building evening.
If you are meeting someone who you look up to in your chosen field for the first time, make sure you do not bombard them with questions as to how they can help you. First, get to know the real person. Make general conversation. They will appreciate it so much as they are used to so many people wanting to learn their magic secrets.
Make people remember you
In business, people are interacting and networking all the time. How is someone going to remember who you are? One of the best things you can do is have your photograph on your business card. This makes it so much easier for the person who is sifting through hundreds of them to remember you. Carry your business card everywhere and hand it to each new person you meet. Let them know how you can connect again and that you would love share ideas sometime. Make it casual.
Be bright, happy and positive. Smile lots, make jokes and light-hearted conversation. This is really the best way to ensure someone remembers you. In reality there really aren’t a lot of happy friendly people around so if you can be this way you will stand out.
Dont be afraid to share your story with others. There is a very fine line here between bragging and sharing. Speak confidently about what you do, allow your passion for it to shine through.
Let the person know you, know something about them and appreciate what they do. Without sounding stalkerish, mention a recent post of theirs you read, or tell them how helpful you found their latest book. Make it short and sweet.
Lose your arrogance
Im sure we have all met the person who thinks they are so far above you that you are not even worthy a look down their nose. These people stink and have no idea about building relationships. When their walls come tumbling down they will find no one around to help build them back up.
I dont care how big or how successful you are there is no one who is not worthy of your time. Besides, how do you know the success these people may have in the future?
The more success you have the harder it is to devote enough time with others who want to get to know you. It is like when you get married, the evening finishes and you feel really rude because you did not get a chance to speak to your hundreds of guest. Do the best you can. Always offer a smile at least, and a nice to meet you. People will understand you are busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat them with respect and leave a good impression.
When talking with others always ensure that you spend time getting to know them. Ask them about their life and what they do. Do not spend the whole time talking about how wonderful you and your product, website or blog is.
The fortune is in the follow up. Allocate time in your busy schedule to follow up with those you have recently met and would like to build a relationship with. Send them a quick email, facebook status update or even a tweet.
Let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and you look forward to meeting them in the future. If you spoke about any particular topic, mention it with perhaps an answer, a website, or a link you can send their way with helpful information.
Always be sure to pass on your gratitude and appreciation for anything that people have taken the time to help you with. I know it is easy to forget sometimes, but you must make this a habit. I have had people contact me via email for help before, and I have taken time out of my busy schedule to help them out. Sometimes I never hear from these people again, not even a one sentence thank you. It always amazes me as that is a prime opportunity for relationship building lost. I’m less likely to help that person in the future.
Start connecting with your new friends online. Join their social communities, comment on their work and share it. This all helps to cement a deeper relationship with these people.
Entrepreneurs are always happy to network and share. They understand the power that comes from building relationships. You just never know where that relationship may lead.
Never be afraid to approach people. You are worthy of their time and you have a lot to offer. If you approach your networking from this perspective, with an open mind for learning and sharing you will build strong and positive relationships with others.
People help open up doors that you never had the clear vision to see. You also have the ability to help open these doors for others.
Caz and Craig Makepeace have been living and travelling the globe since 97, both solo and as a couple and now with a three year old. They believe life is all about the memories and their travel tips and stories at yTravel blog and their fanpage aim to inspire and teach others how to make their life a story to tell.