One of the ways you can build a strong business is to network with others. Having strong connections can help you in many ways with your business and even your personal life. Use these ideas to build connections that work.
* You Can’t Outsource It - No matter what anyone says when it comes to networking with others, there is no possible way to outsource it. It has to come from you personally to work. This isn’t something you should send someone else to do. That includes engagement and interaction with people on social media as well as in person.
* Name Drop – You want to do it carefully, but if you don’t know someone and want to get to know them, the best way to do that is to mention a mutual acquaintance. It will help to bind you to that person in a new way. If you can also bring up a shared interest that the three of you share, which will work even better.
* Be a Resource – As someone in the network who is useful to others, you’ll be even more sought out. Always send people you have met something useful, such as introducing them to a connection you know that can help them with something they’re currently doing. Even if you can’t help them, sending them to someone else can be beneficial to you in the future.
* If You Ask for Anything, Be Specific and Reciprocal – One mistake people often make is that they immediately ask people for something, but they’re not very specific about what they want. After you’ve spent time getting to know the person, if you need something from them, be very specific and don’t want for them to take a hint and offer. Be direct, ask, and also let them know what you can do for them.
* Always Maintain Your Credibility – The best thing you can do with any connection is to follow up and stick to your promises. If you say that you’ll follow up with them, do it within a reasonable amount of time. If you say you’ll send them some information, do it right away. That way people learn to trust you at your word. You don’t even have to do “more” - just do what you said you’d do and people will be wowed.
* Be Authentic – You hear this all the time, but what does it really mean? It means that it’s best to be yourself, and not try to put on a different personality depending on the people you’re with at the time. If you’re just yourself, good and bad, people will trust you more even if they don’t always agree with you.
* Play the Long Game – Networking is not an overnight strategy. It’s a long-term game that you’ll be playing the entire time you’re in business. Every single person you meet and every connection you make will make a big difference in your business. Just realize that everyone you meet may not be able to help you today, but maybe they can in the future.
* Approach People on Their Terms – Some people prefer phone calls, some prefer email, and with yet others you may have to resort to old-fashioned snail mail. But, if you know about the person you want to connect with due to your research, you should know how they like connecting and then do it their way.
Building a well-connected network takes time. It might take years for the process to pay off. But in the meantime, you’re going to have a lot of fun getting to know different people so that you can become a resource and a helpful connection to others.
Anna D. Banks, MAS, is a business coach, trainer, speaker and host of the Better Biz Better You Show (http//www.BetterBizBetterYouShow.net) podcast. Anna works mainly with women professionals and business owners who desire a bigger business and self-development. She facilitates workshops, seminars, training, and coaching to entrepreneurs, and owners of small and mid-sized business. In addition to her extensive training, business development and media experience, Anna is a John Maxwell Certified Coach and a Certified D.I.S.C. Behavioral Studies Trainer.
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