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

Networking — This Stuff Works By Josh Hinds

Sometimes you have an experience which just totally affirms that what you’re saying is true (in my case the speaking and training I do on teaching effective networking skills).

The other day certainly qualified as one of those times…

A while back I wrote an article entitled, Networking Made Easy. When I wrote it my reason for doing so was to inform others on ways to get the most from the art of networking – that is, creating win, win relationships.

From the time I wrote it the days turned to weeks, then a month or more passed…

Then I received a greeting card from Mark Herdering the other day. Rather than try and recount what his note had to say I’ll copy it below for you so you can see it first hand. It really is a good example of how effective networking opens one up to all sorts of exciting opportunities and connections that just aren’t possible (or would likely take a whole lot longer to develop) through different approaches.

Here’s a portion of Mark’s note to me…

“Hey Josh,
Several months ago while I was in Portland, OR. I used my usual approach to connecting with people I wanted to get to know better. I sent each of them a card like this one inviting them to get together for coffee so I could find out more about them and their business.”

Josh’s thoughts: The greeting card was pretty cool, it had a picture of Mark on it holding a cup of coffee. And inside was a gift card for… you guessed it, a cup of coffee. Nice touch, since we’re not anywhere close to each other geographically. Now on with the rest of Mark’s note to me…

“After getting together with the ones who responded I went to work looking for ways I could send them referrals and promote their business. (This is how I’ve always worked my business. People just naturally take an interest in you when you start by taking an interest in them.)”

Josh’s thoughts: Does it appear to you that Mark gets the whole “effective networking” thing? Doesn’t he sound like the type of person you’d seek out and want to do business with? Consider in a day how many people you meet with who make it their mission to refer business your way. Does the total number of them fill the five fingers on your hand? I doubt it’s even close (unless of course you come into contact with a lot of folks who are regular readers of this site 🙂

And no, this isn’t a commercial for Mark — but he earned the accolades here as there’s quite a bit to learn from and model in Mark’s note to me… Back to the letter from Mark.

“A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a guy in Portland who had read your article entitled “Networking Made easy”. It was actually read aloud in a Sandler Sales class. Several in the class had received my card and met with me months prior. But your article prompted a conversation about my Send Out Cards service. How wild is that?”

Josh’s thoughts: Mark ended the note by saying if I was ever in his area to look him up for an in person cup of coffee. What do you think I did? Well, first off, I was impressed. Impressed with a capital “I” I might add! Here’s a guy who obviously gets what I speak and teach on. So I gave him a quick call. We had a terrific conversation and do you know who I’ll be looking up if I’m ever in his area? You guessed it!

So let’s cover some more of the key points shall we?

* First, the article I wrote was shared during a Sandler Sales class. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a BIG well respected sales training company. It’s truly an honor to know that the advice I imparted in my article was shared during one of their classes.

It’s also worth pointing out that I really didn’t try to “sell” anyone at Sandler on using my article. Heck, I didn’t even know it was being used until Mark took the time to let me know (which is another point worth noting. An easy way to build value in the eyes of another person is to look for things that might interest them and then pass along that information to them. In my case knowing that my article had been shared certainly interested me). What I did was put the information out there for others to use, share and benefit from. And I think it’s safe to say that’s what’s happening 🙂

* Something else to consider is that I am based in Alabama and Mark is based in L.A. — we’re not exactly likely to bump into each other on a street corner are we? Yet, connect we did — and through that one article I wrote he’s received business and connections and I have as well.

As I look over the letter outlined above there are so many lessons one could use to get maximum mileage from their networking efforts…

* For example, notice how Mark mentions that he looks for ways to refer business to others he meets first. I touched on that before, but give that some extra thought for a moment. How would you view a person you initially met who took this approach? Rather than say the approach of looking at things from a point of “what they can get first” from the meeting or new connection.

I’d encourage you to read back over the ideas shared above and look for ways you can put your own unique slant on the approach Mark takes. You’ll be better for it, and everyone you come into contact with (directly or indirectly as was the case with me) will be too.

Happy Networking!

and remember…

It’s your life, LIVE BIG! – Josh Hinds

* Josh is a Speaker, trainer and coach who teaches on effective networking. You can learn more about having him speak to your group at www.GetMotivation.com/speaker

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