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

Ray Edwards interview – Copywriter, Internet Marketing Strategist, and Speaker

Ray Edwards is a sought after direct response copywriter, marketing strategist and conference speaker. He specializes in helping his clients to attract new customers, and gain bigger profits from their existing business relationships. Visit him at RayEdwards.com

Josh Hinds: How do you define business networking and why do you feel it’s important?

Ray Edwards: I define business networking as: making connections with people in a meaningful way, and looking for opportunities to help them.

Most people network like jerks. It’s obvious from the moment they shove their business card into your hand that their only reason for wanting to make a connection with you is to try to get something from you.

Dale Carnegie said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

I have found it’s much better, in the long run, to try and figure out how you can give something to people. First be a giver. The opportunities for you to be repaid will come later, and they will come naturally. No salesmanship or manipulation required.

Josh Hinds: Can you give a couple of ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Ray Edwards: To improve your networking skills, practice the art of listening. If you can truly listen to people, and be “fully present” in the conversation, your networking skills will improve naturally.

Now be sure you catch this nuance: instead of merely pretending to listen politely, actually listen. What I mean is this: what most people are actually doing is not listening – it’s silently preparing their own rebuttal or pitch. Guess what? We all know what you’re doing!

If you instead listen actively, and really try yo understand what the other person is trying to communicate, you will give them something they don’t get from many other people: psychological air. The feeling that they can breathe. The feeling that you’re actually interested in them and their motivations and goals.

And if you can find a way to help them, whether it be through connection with a key person that they may want to know, or giving them a pointer to some information or resources that would really help them, you will make an impression that is impossible to duplicate through normal networking manipulation.

Josh Hinds In your opinion, what would be the ideal design for a business card from the point of effective networking. That is, what are the absolute most important elements one needs on their business card.

Ray Edwards: Well, first there is the obvious stuff. Your name, telephone number, e-mail address, and website address. Beyond this, I think you should deviate from the norms.

For instance, I think giving your title on your business card is a ridiculous waste of space. Nobody cares what your title is (except your Mom).

What they care is what you can do for them. So, instead of having your title be “CEO and Founder” of your own company, for instance, I would suggest having a simple one sentence summary of how you help people.

For instance, “I help people start and profit from an Internet business, so they can live anywhere, escape their job, and be who God made them to be.”

That’s a much more useful piece of information than telling them you’re the CEO or the VP of Operations, etc.

In addition, I would suggest using the back of your business card to make a direct response style offer. In other words, you might offer a free report that tells people how to do exactly what you described in your one sentence description. Or, you might offer a software estimator or planning tool, or a free consultation with you personally. The point is, you have a simple call to action on the back of the business card: “Claim your free consultation now…” and you insert a telephone number or website address.

You want a call to action that puts them into a communication process with you – and that’s much more helpful that simply handing out cards and hoping someone will call as a result.

Give them a reason to call.

Josh Hinds: Based on your experiences, which places and activities have you found best for meeting new people and expanding your professional network.

Ray Edwards: I suggest meeting people in a place that prequalifies them for the offer you want to make.

For instance, when I was starting out as a freelance copywriter, I wanted to attract and find prospects who (a) had a business, (b) wanted to improve their business, and (c) were willing to spend money to do so. It turns out that the perfect place to find such people was at a business improvement seminar.

Think about it. Those people had businesses or wanted to start one. They were willing to spend money in order to learn to start or improve their business, and they had actually done so already – proven by their being present at the seminar. This made them ideally prequalified prospects for my business.

So, the trick is to simply figure out what prequalifies your prospects, and show up at the places where those prequalifications are already met. This saves you a great deal or pre-sorting and elimination of non-starter prospects. It means that you’re a better match for them. They’re a better match for you.

- Happy Networking, Josh Hinds
(Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, or at JoshHinds.com)

*brought to you by BusinessNetworkingAdvice.com

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  • http://donrobertsorg.com/mega-partnering/mega-partnering-5-mega-partnering-black-belt-tips/ Mega Partnering

    I like the way you and Ray roll, Josh. So many people that network completely blow it when they don’t start-out making the initial encounter “about the other person”. When we “make it about them”, we have the beginnings of a potentially strong business relationship.
    Don Roberts

  • http://www.getmotivation.com joshhinds

    I’m glad you enjoyed the interview Dan. If there’s one common theme among all the interviews on the topic of “business networking” that I’ve done I would say they are seem to get the importance of putting the other person first… in a world where everyone seems to come from a “me first” mindset — the folks who (in my opinion anyway) really get networking put the person they’re meeting with up front.

    -Josh :-)