Getting clients fast through effective business networking is something every entrepreneur must have a hand of.
In this first guide in networking basics, we’re going to look at networking overall, and really get an understanding of the fundamentals of networking. So in this guide, what we’re going to discuss is first of what really is networking, then we’re going to dive into different types of networking and the forms that they come in.
So first off, what is networking. And this is how I would define networking.
WHAT IS NETWORKING?
“I defined it as the physical act of meeting others providing value and building a long term relationship, both personally and professionally. Networking should be a positive experience to learn about other people’s story, and genuinely build a relationship”
Now, this is my personal definition of networking. However, if you talk to different people or different companies, they might have a slight variation of it. But ultimately, our goal is to meet people build a relationship and have a positive experience to learn about people’s stories.
That’s what it’s about. It’s all about building relationships and truly connecting with people. Because at the end of the day, ultimately people do business with people, as many cool software tools that are out there and is easy, simplified ways that you can connect with people on social media.
There’s nothing like that face to face connection that you can have with another person.
And networking is the best way to do that.
Types Of Networking
1. Social Networking
- Social Media outlets
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
- Great for touch points
- Can be the primary strategy
- Online to offline experience
So now let’s dive into the different types of networking that are out there. So the first and most obvious type is really social networking.
These are your basically your social media outlets, your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, I really see these as great pieces for touchpoints are really initializing a conversation with someone that you may not be able to connect with directly through a networking meeting or another connection or networking partner.
So that’s what social networking is. However, some people use it as their primary strategy for networking. Ultimately, what you want to do it You want to have that online experience with someone, and you want to take it to an offline experience a face to face handshake type of experience with them.
So you might meet them online initially. You might be connecting with them a little bit here and there through different touchpoints to see how they’re doing and how you can help them.
But ultimately, you want to get that face to face that one on one meeting, you know, talking with them, getting them getting to know them more on a personal level.
And I don’t care what anyone says about how awesome and effective social networking can be.
It’s never as good as a face to face, you will never be able to connect with someone as in-depth as a face to face meeting where you’re shaking their hand and you’re talking to them, rather than just doing something in more of a virtual environment.
2. Casual Networking
- Meet casually in life
- The plane, coffee shop, shopping
- Out and about in life
- Spark conversation
- Opportunity for relationship
So the next type of networking is kind of casual networking. This is where you just meeting people in life. It can be on a plane or coffee shop or shopping, you’re just out and about and you’re sparking a conversation with someone.
This is an opportunity to build a relationship with someone.
A friend told me a story about him doing something very similar, he actually met a future strategic partner.
He was at a restaurant and saw someone on their Mac and said, Hey, they got to be up to something. So He just went up to them and just started a conversation with him.
They started talking, he found out that the guy was actually a graphic designer. And through building the relationship, they now actually work together as strategic partners.
So him as a videographer and the other person, as a graphic designer are able to collaborate, share clients with each other, and provide a lot of value to their clients.
And we’re going to talk about that dynamic a little bit later in a strategic partner chapter. But the primary goal of casual networking is to just spark up a conversation
So don’t be nervous about doing that. And as you get through some of the networking processes and you become more seasoned, it’s going to be easier for you to approach people.
3. Formal Networking
- Formally going to groups
- Different types of groups
- The intention of finding out business
- Actively building relationship
Now, the last type of networking is the formal networking and this is what the bulk of the guide is all going to be about.
It’s about formerly going to groups, different types of groups, and really the intention of finding out about a person, their business.
You’re actively building a relationship so you can become partners, and how you can have a mutually beneficial relationship with each other or have just a great personal relationship with each other as well.
In this chapter, we’re going to talk about the networking process and the different steps of networking. We’re first going to talk about the different stages of networking.
I’m going to give you a broad overview of each, then we’re going to dive into each specific process for each one of those stages. So first talk about the different stages of networking.
DIFFERENT STAGES OF NETWORKING
- Knowing the connective approach
- Having clear goals in mind
- Discovering what group is ideal
- Planning for the event
The first stage of networking is researching. This is understanding the connective approach that you’re going to have and clear goals in mind when you’re going into a networking event.
Then you want to discover what group is really going to be the best fit for you. What are the topics, what type of people are attending that you can connect with? And then ultimately, you’re going to plan for the event.
- Meeting fellow networkers
- Talking about your businesses
- Learning about others
- Focus on connecting
- Goal to set-up one on ones
The next thing is the physical networking event itself. This is where you’re meeting fellow networkers, you’re talking about your business, and you’re really learning and connecting with others.
Now the goal of an event is really to set up a one on one meeting where you can get to know the person on a more personal and professional level.
3. ONE ON ONE
- Meet person individually
- Focus on learning about them
- Coffee, lunch, event
- Provide value
The next thing after the event is the one on one. And this is where you meet the person individually, you’re going to focus on learning really about them. And it can be for coffee, it can be for lunch, it can be at a particular event.
But ultimately, your goal is to know them on a more personal level and provide value to them.
4. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
- Follow up with One- on- One
- Regularly have touchpoints
- Determine if a suitable strategic partner
The last stage is really the relationship building. This is when you following up with an additional one on one, you want to have regular touchpoints with them, and have a second or third, one on one meeting with them.
And then at that point, you’ll be able to determine if they’re suitable as a strategic partner for you.
If you can provide value to them, they can provide value to you and even if you can’t work with each other on a business level, maybe on a personal level, you can connect as well and build a relationship from there.
Connective Approach Formula –
YOUR OVERALL APPROACH TO NETWORKING
In this chapter, we’re going to talk about the connective approach formula. And this is going to be the strategy you’re going to use for your overall approach to networking.
So we’re going to talk about is first making connections and the importance of that. Secondly, going to talk about the power of listening and really learning about the individuals that you’re going to be meeting at networking events.
Then we’re going to talk about just the overall strategy for building relationships. And then next, we’re going to talk about how you can take those relationships to build partnerships.
- The focus of connecting with people
- People do business with people
- They and you should KNOW – LIKE -TRUST
So when you go to a networking meeting, the main thing that you want to do is make a connection with people. You want to focus on really connecting with them on a personal level, you know, people do business with people, they’re going to do business with people they know, like and trust.
And if you come off as one of those people that just go there, and you’re talking about business all the time, and you just want to try to sell stuff, it’s going to be a huge turnoff for people.
How To Connect
- Connect on similar interests
- Connect on family
- Connect on travel
So what you really want to focus on is connecting with them as an individual. Don’t focus too much on the business, as we talked about before, focus on the person and connecting with them.
Because ultimately, if they know like, and trust you, they’re more likely to help you out and you are more than likely to willing to do the same.
And by connecting with them on their interests, their likes, you know why they do what they’re passionate about, you are going to really stand out.
And they’re going to like, know and trust you more than other people that are just going there with the goal of trying to sell stuff.
So the first thing we’re going to discuss is kind of the networking events that you could attend. So the first one is more of a referral-based networking group.
- Designed to get referrals
- Lots of “casual networking”
- Goal to get & give referrals
This is your big type of group or even your chamber of commerce to some degree. Now, this group is designed to get referrals.
It’s a lot of casual networking because you want to spend time meeting with people talking with people setting up one on ones understanding their business with the intention of getting New referrals.
That is ultimately the goal of this type of networking event.
- Some casual networking
- Goal to learn something from a group.
- Sometimes speaker at an event.
- Sometimes activity-driven.
The next type, which is my personal favorite is more of an educational-based networking event. There’s some casual networking that goes on before and after the actual event or educational part.
The goal is to learn something from the group. So they might have a speaker at the event, sometimes it’s activity-driven. But the thing is, is that you’re trying to kind of build relationships connect with people through education, or just an activity of some sort, which makes it kind of fun.
Understanding One-on-one Meetings
ONE- ON- ONE OVERVIEW
- Meeting with business contact
- Meet just with them
- Sometimes can have 2 other people
So what a one on one meeting is, is it’s basically a meeting with a business contact, you just met with them at maybe a networking event and you connected with them, and you want to have you and them just sit down and have a conversation about each other.
So you can see if there’s some synergy and opportunity to connect on a deeper level.
Now, sometimes you can have two other people. Sometimes there can be three or four people there but ideally, a one on one is exactly what It says it’s a one-on-one, you meeting away from the noise of a networking event.
So the reason why you want to do this is that it’s going to help build and foster that relationship, it’s going to help you determine if you can be strategic partners with this person.
Another thing it can be a little awkward, you don’t know the person and you don’t know what to say.
But what’s great and the way to overcome this is you be you want to come research and be prepared. Come research, be prepared, be able to ask you know good effective questions to them.
Your primary goals of building that relationship, taking it to the next level by asking for a second meeting, and fostering that relationship. So you can move it to a strategic partnership, and then ultimately, to someone that can be a part of your business development group.
AN OVERVIEW OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
WHO IS A STRATEGIC PARTNER?
- Business college
- Networking partner
- Close friend
- Built a relationship with them
Strategic Partners; they’re a business colleague or a networking partner. They could also be a close friend, but ultimately, it’s someone that you have built a relationship with.
They are an individual that you have an agreement to mutually benefit each other and the clients so you can have a very close relationship with, they can be great friends or you can be strictly business partners. You want to collaborate with each other to benefit your clients.
So now let’s talk about why you’d want to work with a strategic partner and why this is so important in building your business.
- Essentially FREE to promote & sell
- No consistent labor costs
- Only pay for lead/sale
One of the main reasons is the cost, it’s essentially free for them to promote and sell you. There are no consistent labor costs like if you’re at a hired marketing or a sales manager, you only pay for the lead or sale if that’s the agreement you have.
Our primary goal of picking a strategic partner is someone that is aligned with your goals and the quality of work that you have as well.
Networking Power Start –
GETTING UP AND RUNNING WITH STRATEGIC PARTNERS
The first thing is you want to have clearly defined goals. You want to be intentional to build your strategic partners, and you want to be upfront about it right away when you reach out to a contact.
You want to align yourself with professionals in their industry and you want to be specific on your goal.
- Go to industry events
- Contact them directly
- Email – Phone
- Proactively reach out
So your strategy with this is that ultimately, instead of attending general networking events based on business, you want to go out and contact them directly, so through email, or even call them, this is where you’re proactively reaching out to them.
And that’s the “POWER START” strategy. So here is how you would structure the contact, if you’re actually contacting them through email or phone.
- Greeting to them
- A positive note on day/week
- Who you are
This is ideally how you want it to be structured. So first off, what you want to do is you want to have an introduction, you want to have kind of a greeting to them about yourself,, you want to have a positive note about the day or the week.
And typically you want to explain who you are. So you want to say hi, hope you have an awesome week.
Then the next line is really how you know them.
How You Know
- How you know them
- How you discovered them
- How you came across them
So give them some insight, maybe you were referred to them from another contact, so you have instant credibility right there. Or maybe you discovered them online, or how you came across them some way or somehow you want to give them some basics on how you found out about them.
- What you like/admire
- Detailed example
- Very specific on like/admire
- Provide personal feedback
Then you want to see something that you like or admire about them what you like about them.
The next thing you want to do is you want to state your goal, what you want to do, what you and how they can actually help, how it will help them how it will help you what the actual goal is, what is the purpose of writing this email, then you want to provide them with a call to action.
It’s very, very specific. It’s very easy for them to say yes, that’s easy and convenient for me to the last thing you want to do is just thank them, thank them for their time thank them for reading thank them for their consideration
Something that states that you’re grateful for them even opening up the email and considering to talk to you and considering, having a potential meeting with you.
So when you follow the process, and you use the structure and you start putting this stuff in place, you’re going to be able to hit the ground running with your strategic network.
And before you know it, you’re going to have a huge amount of strategic partners all of which are actively working with you to get clients for your business.