Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Interview with Bob Burg

Before I move on with the interview from Bob Burg I want to recommend that you re-read the ideas shared here a few times (just to make sure you don’t miss anything). Even better would be to print it out and share it with your friends and colleagues — doing so is likely to make you a hero in their eyes!

Now let me introduce to you Mr. Bob Burg…

Bob Burg teaches companies and individuals how to apply and perfect two skills dramatically important to personal and professional success. These are Business Networking and Positive Persuasion Skills. He is the author of: Winning Without Intimidation: How To Master The Art Of Positive Persuasion, Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales, and The Success Formula: Three Timeless Principles That Will Turbocharge Your Success And Dramatically Improve Your Life.

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Bob Burg: Josh, I define Networking as simply, “The cultivating of mutually beneficial, GIVE and take, win/win relationships.” As you can see, the emphasis is on the ‘give’ part. And, the truly successful networkers understand (some intuitively and others via learning) that Networking is a situation in which those who give of themselves the most (and “giving” can include the sharing of information, referrals, suggestions, resources, books, etc. – anything that “adds increase” to the life and/or business of the other person) benefit big-time.

Those who Network correctly also seem to live by what I call “The Golden Rule of Networking” and that is, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” In essence, they know that when they are Networking correctly, they are in the process of building “an army of ‘Personal Walking Ambassadors.’”

The importance of Networking is in being able to utilize the inherent leverage of “know you, like you, trust you” relationships in order to serve more people, and do so more effectively. When you’re not having to concern yourself with prospecting, you can focus much more on delivering with excellence the product or service you provide.

Josh: Can you share one idea that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Bob Burg: That’s a great question, Josh. You know, we’ve all heard that when in an initial conversation with someone, it’s best to focus on them rather than on ourselves. As such, I like to ask, what I call, Feel-Good Questions®. These questions, which happen to be excellent – and quick – rapport builders, are very effective. They are not invasive, intrusive or “prospecty” in nature. They are simply questions designed to put your prospect at ease, to make him or her feel good about themselves, about the conversation, and most importantly, about you!

So what are some of these Feel-Good Questions®.? Here are just a couple that will serve you every time:

Question #1: “How did you get started in the ‘widget’ business?”

I call this the “Movie-of-the-Week” question because most people love the opportunity to “tell their story” to someone. This, in a world where most people don’t care enough to want to know their story. Be sure and actively listen, and be interested in what they are saying.

Question #2: “What do you enjoy most about what you do?”

Again, you are giving them something very positive to associate with you and your conversation. This is much better then asking the alternative question, “So, what do you just hate most about what you do … not to mention the wretched life you are so obviously living?” 🙂

See how there is no pressure here to have to be slick or sharp? Wow – what a difference. But, now, let’s take it a step further.

You’ve begun to establish a nice rapport with your new prospect. You are focusing on him or her, as opposed to you and your awesome products or opportunity, as most salespeople do. This person is starting to feel good about you and has enjoyed answering your first two Feel-Good Questions®..

Now it’s time for, what I call, the “One Key Question,” and here it is:

“Pat, how can I know if someone I am speaking with would be a good prospect for you?”

What have you accomplished by asking that question? Two things; First, you’ve continued to establish yourself as being different from all others they meet who are in business, who only seem to want to know, “How can you help me?” People might not come right out and say that, but isn’t that what they imply when they hand the person 10 business cards, telling them to “keep one for yourself and give the rest to your closest friends.”? Instead, you are letting them know your interest is in helping them. And that is always acceptable to a person (so long as you are, and are perceived as being, sincere).

Secondly, since you are asking for help in identifying their prospects, Pat will gladly supply you with an answer. For example, if he sells copying machines, he might say, “Well, if you’re ever in an office and notice a copying machine and next to that copying machine is a wastepaper basket filled to the rim and absolutely overflowing with crumpled up pieces of paper, that’s a good sign that copying machine has been breaking down a lot lately, and that’s an excellent prospect for me.”

Not only does he feel great about you that you even asked, but the fact is, nothing builds trust and credibility with a prospect more than actually referring business to them whenever possible.

* You can visit Bob Burg at Burg.com.

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