Guest post by Kaylene Mathews (www.ksmlifecoaching.com)
I was shocked. I had been duped. I had been invited to coffee by an acquaintance under the guise of her interest in my work. As time went on, I soon realized that the meeting had been entirely orchestrated to get her business materials into my hands. She had feigned interest in me to promote herself. She had even gone so far as to have me order materials for her from my business, which she never collected or paid for. From my perspective, trust had been broken, not only in her but in her company.
Networking opens doors of important associations to you. It’s necessary for success in any profession. It can take years to build up a healthy network. With the advent and popularity of social media, the options for networking are more plentiful today than they have ever been. It is a sensitive activity though. Regardless of the type of networking you choose, social media, personal, or a combination of both, there are certain behaviors that can mean certain death to a network.
3 Strategies to Overcome Certain Death in Networking:
1. Show genuine interest in others. Change your mindset from self to others. Be genuine. If you catch yourself waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can launch into your spiel, stop before you begin. Ask others about themselves, their business, their experiences. Whether they are a potential client or not, you can learn a lot from other people and their experiences. You’ll know you’re on the right track when they have to ask you about yourbusiness.
- Benefit to them: They get to talk about themselves. Benefit to you: You learn what their real problems are. Then given the opportunity, you can tailor your solution to exactly fit their needs.
2. Be up front. If there is something you want to discuss or present, just be up front. Don’t sneak around or use covert tactics to trap someone into listening to your spiel. Trust is damaged by these tactics. Being up front can be as simple as asking someone if they would be open to you sharing your work with them. You’ll always experience more success when you have their consent to share with them. Beware of trying to “sell” them. Take your cues and cut it short if you sense their extreme disinterest, such as them walking away. Don’t chase after them trying to convince them that you have every solution to their every problem, especially if you’ve never taken the time to be genuinely interested in them.
- Benefit to them: They don’t have to fear your real motives. Benefit to you: You get their consent, which builds trust and gives you a more attentive audience.
3. Add Value. The bottom line, especially in today’s networking world is to add value. Wherever you go, whatever you’re doing, make adding value to others your number one goal. Don’t be afraid to give something away for free. When people believe that you’re really interested in them and their success, they tend to want to help you. Maybe they’re not your client, but they know people, who know people who could be potential clients. I’ve had experiences with people who have added so much value to my work, that my natural reaction was to find a way to return the value.
- Benefit to them and you: Value. There’s no end to the good that comes from adding value, professionally, personally and for networking.
Word of mouth is everything in networking. Now, more than ever, a large percentage of business is done through referrals. People will talk to their friends and their network for recommendations long before they will do a Google search to find what they’re looking for. Insure that what’s being said about you is positive. Don’t kill your network! Instead grow your network; show genuine interest, be up front and add value. The rest will fall into place naturally from there.
About Kaylene Mathews: (www.ksmlifecoaching.com)
Board Certified Coach and President of KSMLifeCoaching, Kaylene Mathews equips and empowers individuals and groups to gain the clarity they need to achieve their personal and professional best through coaching and training services. She authors a twice weekly blog, monthly newsletter and just published her first book, available on Amazon.