Chief Relationship Officer
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Effective Strategies is devoted to sharing ideas that can improve your business performance. This issue, we look at networking communication ó the language of the power networker. If you missed the last issue, click here to read it.
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If you broke down every networking transaction, youíd find that the single element that determined success of that transaction was your ability to communicate. If networking isnít working for you, take a hard look at your ability to get and convey your information. With the right information, you know exactly what that contact needs, whether they are a good prospect, who they know, and how you need to proceed with them next.
So what do you say? Part of the anxiety of networking comes from not knowing what to ask. Networkers often default to talking about themselves because they donít know how to initiate interesting dialogue.
Enter a networking conversation with the purpose of finding out as much about the other person as possible. You ideally want to know many of these critical details.
This is a general list. Some of these items may seem nosy, but they have genuine value. Everyone you meet has a network that includes their family members, friends, and volunteer and professional contacts. You obviously want to know all the details about their company so you can provide good referrals. However, knowing information about their network will help you structure what you tell them about your company.
This is the Networking Zone template. Use it as the foundation for your own power networking dialogue template.
Hi! Iím Danny Mason. [They will respond with their name]
What company are you with?
What is your role with your company?
How long have you been there [or owned it, etc.]?
Tell me more about what your company does. [Listen to understand; ask questions about the company until you understand their business]
Who is a good prospective client for you?
Are you from this area? [They usually offer information that tells you where they are from, and you can ask about their family located in other geographical areas.]
[If not from your area] What brings you to this area?
[If the last question yields information about their spouse] What does your spouse do?
Do you have family here in the area? [May reveal children, spouse, or parent information]
Are you involved in any local charities? [Question further if they answer yes. They may also reveal they want to volunteer but donít know where they fit in. Make sure you keep up with local charity activities so you can offer ideas.]
Begin your close: ďIt was great to meet you. Do you have a business card so I can refer you if I come across anyone who needs your service?Ē
Normally, at this point, they want to know more about you and your company because you have been attentive. If they donít, itís probably because they are just nervous or not very skilled in conversation. In a rare case, they may be self-centered and donít care about anyone else. Those people soon disappear off the business landscape. Think the best of those people anyway.
Hereís why this works: You arenít just leading the conversation to gather the information you need ó you are placing the other person in the spotlight. They feel flattered that you care enough to get to know them. You appear genuine, interested, and gracious ó all virtues of the kind of person people like to do business with.
This and other networking strategies are covered in Currency: Striking Networking Gold in a Relationship Economy. For more information on the book, click here.
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