Networking Success Tip: focus on others

September 30, 2006

If you are not trying to sell your stuff and you are not focused on yourself, but just look for ways to help your contact and your network to do business, people will pick upon this and feel more relaxed around you. And therefore they will be more willing to connect with you.

Have a great networking day !

Jan

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10 steps to start with online networking (part 2)

September 23, 2006

Last week I presented you with the first 5 steps to start networking online. Here are steps 6 till 10.

Step 6: Connect people with each other. One of the best network actions you can do, is connecting your contacts with each other. State clearly why you think they should get to know each other. In the short or the long run they will do the same for you.

Step 7: Start your own club/forum. If you want to go a step further and really want to be perceived as an expert in your field then you can start your own club or forum. Mention this in your profile and invite others to your club. Remember that you as a club leader have the responsibility to contribute on a regular basis and react on the messages from other people.

Step 8: Create an extra presence on the web. A profile on one or more networking websites will increase your visibility on the Internet. The reason is that these websites get lots of visitors and are ranked highly on the search engines. This will benefit you and your organisation as well. If you want to go a step further you can also start a blog like the one you are reading now (via Typepad, WordPress or Blogger for example) or start with a lens (on Squidoo). Visit my lens about networking to see an example.

Step 9: Keep your profile up to date. Modify your profile when something changed on a professional or personal level or if you recommend people, websites or books. This is a small effort for you, but you can help many others in this way. And they will remember it!

Step 10: Give and receive. Think about what you can offer people without expecting something in return and you will see that you will receive a multitude of what you gave. You can start with giving advice or tips in your field of expertise or react on messages of other people in forums and share your experience. In this way you build a good relationship with other members of your network. If they value your efforts, they will definitely help you and recommend you to others !

A few extra tips:
Take it easy. Building relationships costs time, also via the Internet. See to it that you can integrate online networking with your other daily activities.
– Don’t send unpersonal mass messages. So don’t use the standard invitation messages that these websites provide. Make your own welcome message and add a personal touch.
– And stay yourself !

Have a great networking day !

Jan


10 steps to start with online networking (part 1)

September 16, 2006

Because many people ask me how to start with online networking, I will give you 10 steps for your online networking strategy. 5 in this post and another 5 in the post of next week.

Step 1: Choose 1 of more online networking websites. The ones I recommend at this moment in time are Ecademy, OpenBC and LinkedIn.

Step 2: Make a profile. Present yourself as a human being, not only your function within the organisation you work for. People tend to establish contact faster via common interests, hobbies, schools or sport than via professional activities.

Step 3: Connect with others. Read the profile of other people and note the things you have in common of that trigger you. And then send them a message about these things. Absolute don’ts: sending “sales messages” and unpersonal e-mails.

Step 4: Invite other people. If you are satisfied with the interactions on the websites you have chosen, invite your contacts who are not a member yet. In this way you will grow your network.

Step 5: Participate in forums/clubs. Focus first on the clubs that interest you in a professional or personal way. Express your thoughts and give constructive feedback. In this way people start to get to know you and the trust of others in you will increase.

Next week you receive steps 6 till 10.

Have a great networking day !

Jan


Improve your “results” at networking events

September 9, 2006

Another consequence of the 6 degrees of proximity principle is that it allows us to step away from the “taker” mentality and take on a “giver” attitude.

Let me explain this with an example. In April 2005 I was one of the speakers on a congress of IT hardware resellers in Belgium. There were approximately 80 people in my session. When I asked them who had the “authority to make sales decisions” 80% of the people raised their hands. When I asked who had “authority to make a buying decision”, only 30% raised their hands. Then I told them “if you are here to do direct business with each other, I wish the 80% good luck to find out who those 30% are and who are not yet in a conversation with another seller. If you are a buyer, I wish you lots of patience and inspiration to escape from this mass of salesmen.” (In case you’re wondering about the 80% and 30%: 10% of the participants were small business owners who had the authority to sell and buy).

Of course this is a rather extreme point of view. I know that most salesmen (and because I have to sell my services and books, I’m a salesman too) are not going to stalk the buyers. But I wanted to make my point with regard to the “six degrees of proximity”.

If you look at it from a “small world” point of view, then everybody in that room represented on average 31 250 direct contacts (first and second degree). So if they would talk to each other to see if and how they could help each other buy or sell to their respective networks, not only there would be more business, but also the atmosphere in the room would change.

The high energy that comes from becoming aware of this mass of opportunities is very contagious. And you get the opportunity to build a relationship. We are always suspicious or even reluctant to strangers that want to sell their products or services. But we “lower our guard” to people who try to help us (or our network) to accomplish something without necessarily expecting anything in return.

Before you start e-mailing me with the question “Does this mean I can’t do any business at events anymore?” let me reassure you: of course you don’t have to hesitate when you meet someone you can do business with. My message is: instead of focusing on direct business, look for ways how your network can be of service to them and vice versa. If an opportunity to do business arises, people will be even more willing to do business with you as a result of your attitude.

To your success !

Jan

PS: this is an excerpt from my networking book “Let’s Connect!”. You can find the table of contents, testimonials, an overview of the bonuses and a free light version of the book at www.letsconnect.be


Sharing your expertise on Squidoo and Amazon

September 2, 2006

An important part of networking is what you can do for others. Many people don’t know what they can offer.

One of the things you can do, is sharing expertise or information.

For example your favorite links about a specific subject or books that you recommend.

I don’t only share my expertise about networking in this blog, on the website of Networking Coach and the website of Let’s Connect, but also on my lens on Squidoo.

And I have a list of networking books I recommend on Amazon.

You can do the same. Both services are free to use.

And one extra side effect is that it improves your web presence and visibility. People will find you sooner and will perceive you faster as an expert.

To your success !

Jan


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