What Makes A Good Networker?
Having better conversations ...
Everybody, whether they run a business or not, does some networking. It's what you do when you gather people together because 'networker' is just jargon for interacting with people ...
If you're in business then you're a networker!
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But if you run a business, networking is also an important part of selling. You might not specifically go to networking meetings, but you will meet people and talk to them.
If networking or meeting people is such an intrinsic part of business, then how can you be better at it? How can you make it work for you to help develop your business rather than just being a chat?
Ivan Misner, who is arguably the world's most well-known networker, carried out a survey of 3,400 business people around the world. From that survey, he has identified the top seven things you can do to be great at networking:
Be a good listener
Everyone has heard the old adage that you have two ears and one mouth and use them in that proportion; well it's true! The reason it's true is that you need to learn about and understand the other person to establish a relationship.
People do business with people, and you need to find out about the person just as much as you need to know about their business.
Have (or develop) a positive attitude
If you have a positive, upbeat attitude and are a 'can do' person then that is what people will see from the outset of your conversation and will respond positively to! On the other hand, if you are a negative person then that is something that most people dislike ... and they will find a reason to stop talking to you!
Collaborate to help others
A willingness to collaborate is essential to building trust and establishing strong relationships. So much so that the survey found that people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care and are prepared to help.
You can help others, and be collaborative, in many ways. Perhaps by putting them in touch with other sources of support or by emailing them a relevant article, or even just giving them some free information.
Be sincere and authentic
If you are not true to yourself, if you are putting on an act, then it shows. If you are not confident and passionate about your business and its products or services then it shows.
Equally when you are genuine and authentic, that shows as well. How can you expect others to be positive about your business if you are not genuinely impassioned about what it is that you do?
If someone gives you a referral, then follow it up quickly. Following up is truly important! Firstly, if you don't follow up, then you are wasting the opportunity that has been given to you. But also you are wasting the referral that was given to you and that will get back to the person who referred you.
Imagine if you referred your best friend to someone who consistently failed to get in touch or show up, then you would stop giving them referrals. In fact, following up is perhaps the single best bit of sales advice that anyone can give you.
Prove your trustworthiness
Trust is critical, so much so that the survey found out that a lack of trust means that people won't want to work with you. When you give a personal reference or referral, you are putting your reputation on the line as well. You must be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return!
Effective networking starts with approachability. If you put people off before they talk to you then you have missed out on the chance to network in the first place! Approachability is made up of lots of little things. It could be how you stand, how you dress, how much you smile ... lots of things.
One important thing to remember when networking is that most people feel a bit out of their comfort zone, so try to make them feel comfortable. Smile, shake hands, introduce yourself, force yourself to be the one to open the conversation. In other words, do things and say things and behave in ways that make you more approachable and likeable.
Well, thanks to Ivan Misner for his top 7 characteristics of a good networker. How can you use this to help you to have better conversations and be better at networking?
If you'd like to find out more about Ivan Misner, let me know and I will put you in touch with a representative of his consultancy business. If you feel you would like some guidance in identifying what will help you to be a better networker then call me on 0333 335 0422 and let's talk.
Until next time ...
I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.
My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas … and can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.
I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.
I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.
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