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

Daniel Gordon – Business Executive

Daniel Gordon, is a fourth generation jeweler and President of Samuel Gordon Jewelers. In addition, Daniel holds his Diamond Certificate from the Gemological Institute of America. Since joining the firm he has been instrumental in making many important changes for Samuel Gordon Jewelers: he’s virtually changed its’ entire business model and corporate culture, thereby insuring the continuation of the firms’ reputation as a leader in both the jewelry industry and local market in which they operate.

Be sure to read Daniel’s answer to the “personal networking success story” question. It’s a powerful example of just what a positive impact networking can make in one’s business.

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

Daniel Gordon: Business networking is the act of creating an opportunity. For a retail business I believe it is a essential component to help ensure growth and prosperity of almost any business. Today, we have so many more channels to create opportunities for meeting new people; to find undiscovered value in one another that can lead to great long-term relationships.

Fundamentally speaking, networking hasn’t changed, however the newfound capability to enhance offline interactions with online connections has changed everything. As powerful as these tools may be, it still takes a significant effort and commitment on our part to build a productive network. It is still better than the alternative, because if we wait for new customers to come to us, it is far more likely that competitors who will make the effort will leave us in the dust.

Josh Hinds: One of the catch 22’s in a typical networking environment is that people don’t want to focus only on themselves and what they do, but at the same time, they do want to communicate what they do to the other person. With that being the case, how can someone go about getting across what they do in the most effective manner?

Daniel Gordon: It’s always best to approach your efforts from a place of learning. When meeting someone new, you genuinely want to get to know them and understand their interests. I’ve always found it best to promote myself last, if even at all. You also have to love to ask questions, which thankfully is a natural part of my personality.

When you put yourself last, you almost always come out first in business. It helps us to connect on a much deeper level and show everyone who we are beyond the business persona. People want to do business with people they like, that care and that can help. When we put ourselves last, we will almost always come out on top.

Josh Hinds: What events, places, or resources (online or offline) have you found to be especially good for connecting & networking? And based on your experience what makes them stand out?

Daniel Gordon:

Online…
Whatever we want to call it; Web 2.0, Social Media, Social Networking, New Media or anything else, the truth is it’s a way to connect and communicate on a larger scale than ever before. I am a big advocate of creating new relationships through tools like Twitter and Facebook. The key is to identify the meaningful ones and eventually turn them into offline friendships.

Meet up for a cup of coffee, go to a group function, or just a visit to someone at their office and you will see, the real magic of these the tools is how they help us create new connections in the offline world. Just having a Facebook or Twitter account means nothing if you don’t use them to forge something real. I have had the privilege of making more friendships, business, PR and networking opportunities in the past two years versus the prior 35 years of my life, almost all of which started online.

Offline…
I would start by looking into organizations in your local community that are of interest to you. Since almost every business has a Marketing and Public Relationships dynamic, these types of groups and organizations are worth exploring. I chose to become involved with marketing and local arts. I currently serve on the board of our local AMA chapter and Associate Board of The Philharmonic.

Local arts and marketing are both personal interests that have a direct correlation to my business, making them logical starting points. Starting with your interests will make it easier to find people with whom you already share a common interest. If asked to speak, share or help in some way, that’s even better. The more you offer and the more you get involved, the more value that will come back to you in the long run.

Josh Hinds: How do you encourage referrals from your network?

Daniel Gordon: Encouraging referrals is often overlooked and is so important these days. An essential component when it comes to increasing both your reputation and business growth potential. I’ve always had the mindset that you have to earn trust in order to gain the privilege to ask for the sale. It turns out the same is true when it comes referrals. Once you build trust and show your customers who you are, you can encourage referrals with a very gentle nudge.

Beyond the occasional request, we also offer incentives for check-ins on Foursquare, Facebook Deals and have held a variety of contest and promos that we hope our customers will share with throughout their networks independently of my own. That said, nothing is has proven to be more powerful than a kind word from a happy customer.

Josh Hinds: Can you share a personal “networking” success story with us?

Daniel Gordon: Recently an older woman, who does not use Social Networks and barely even uses email, came in and bought a $32,000 ring from us. The sale took only thirty minutes and she was pretty much sold before she walked in the door. How did she find us and why was she that comfortable starting with such a large purchase? Well, it turns out that her daughter told us that we were the place to go. The unusual thing is, her daughter isn’t a customer.

In fact, I’ve never once tried to sell her jewelry. We communicate almost daily online through social media, as we both share a passion for technology. It was really rewarding and reaffirmed a lot of my thinking to see that kind of genuine personal relationship lead to a fantastic sale. I still talk to the daughter all of the time online. I’ve never had any plans of pressuring her to buy something for herself, just a kind thanks for believing in who I am and what company I represent.

– Yours in networking success, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook or Twitter)

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