The challenge of networking
Today’s networking world is challenging. Sometimes when we are looking for new business and looking to increase sales, we can forget that networking is available to us 24/7 and that it’s all around us. You may even forget that sometimes the lead you’re looking for may already be in your contacts, you just need to maintain your relationships and ask the right questions when the timing is optimal.
Here are some tips to keep your mindset fresh so that you can get the most leads possible throughout your day. All of these tips are resources you can use in your daily life to increase the amount of networking you do when you’re not at networking events.
1. Connecting the dots – Often, you have people in your social circle that can either provide value directly to you, or they can provide value to you if they were paired up with another person. For instance, artists tend to need marketers, and mobile app developers tend to need entreprenuers and venture capitalists. Keep who needs who in mind and remember to keep your friendships and contacts warm so that you can ask for leads and favors on demand from your own network (and of course, give them more than you ever receive to ask for yourself).
2. Co-Opetition – Remember to keep your competitors close, and don’t be afraid to ask them for leads, favors, or referrals. Sometimes relationships will surprise you.
3. Friends – When you’re looking for leads for your business, remember to ask your friends for what you need. Friends will often think deeper into their 2nd and 3rd degree contacts to help you with your challenges and will dig deeper into their resources than others because of their personal connection with you.
4. Family – Remember that family can be a great resource when you’re networking. Families are often deeply rooted into a community in their home town and these can provide valuable contacts to you when you are looking.
5. Like-Minded People – Some of the best connections to others and leads for my business have come when I’ve met with other like-minded personalities. Communication is easier and projects are generally mutually exciting to both parties involved. When you come across people with like minds, I do recommend exploring that relationship to see if you have any overlap in what each of you is doing. You may find that you’re pleasantly surprised with how many leads and referrals come out meeting with people of a similar mindset and passion for the occupation as you do.
As you go throughout your day, look for connecting with these kinds of resources and over time as you build trust, these relationships often lead to more contacts and opportunities.