7 “Bees” For Successful Networking
By Peter Lawless
1. Be curious. You enter a room full of “men and women in black”, drinking coffee. You approach them, not because you want to tell them about your excellent business but purely because you are truly interested in THEM and in what THEY do.
2. Be open. If you ask, and then expect an honest and open reply, offer the same when they ask you – do not hide anything, be approachable and happy to share your knowledge.
3. Be helpful. When you learn about what they do, find a link between you and them, and if they mention any issue they are facing, do everything in your power to help them. If they are looking for a solicitor and you know one, tell them immediately. If they need some marketing advice and you are in marketing, offer them a free consultation.
4. Be tolerant. Sometimes they are not in the mood. Sometimes, they are simply tired or a little bit shy. Do not condemn them ; instead, find out what is going on and try to help them.
5. Be reliable. When you offer help, even just a follow-on phone call or an email, make sure that you really do it. Keep your word, whatever happens. People then will rely on you and they will be able to refer their friends and partners to you.
6. Be specific. If asking for referrals directly, be specific. Nothing like “do you know anybody…?” works. You need to ask for a company, ask for a person in the company, ask for a name.
7. Be yourself. With affectation you get nowhere. You want to be coherent so that people will feel well when talking to you. Your gestures, your words and your ideas must be one. So find out who you really are, what you do, how you help people and speak about your true yourself.