Networking 101 – A Crucial Element of Success

Networking is crucial to success in business.

Whether you’re looking to increase your clientele or develop valuable strategic alliances, connecting with new contacts and then taking steps to nurture those relationships will expand your social capital and your opportunities. And it’s the nurturing part that’s key.

Effective networking is more about “farming” than “hunting”. It’s about making new contacts, yes, and then going deep.

I’m sure you’ve been to many an event where you’ve encountered a Networking Hunter – someone who practically rifled their business card at you, shot out their message, then quickly moved on to the next victim. They gained visibility, for sure, but not necessarily the positive kind that leads to business; unless of course, they came across someone who just could not say “no” under pressure. They may get a quick hit at a business mixer, but the likelihood this type of networker would ever receive a referral from someone they’ve met in this manner is slim to none.

Then there those who are everywhere, it seems! I’ve met many through the years that fit this mold, making a point of attending every single networking event in town: the Networking Butterfly. They visit multiple mixers each week, hand out oodles of business cards, collect just as many to add to their database, and then they… spam. More often than not, they are struggling in business and struggling with time. And they have a vast, but very shallow contact base of people who don’t know them from Sam. This person may get the odd referral, but when they do, it’s unlikely to be of any quality.

Networking Masters realize it’s best to choose their networking events wisely and attend with the goal of turning a handful of new contacts into meaningful connections. They spend more time listening and questioning the people they come in contact with, than waxing poetic about their own business. And before they part ways, if there appears to be some synergy, they’ll book a meeting at a later date to get to know that person better and explore ways to benefit one another. In the long run, it’s these individuals who farm their new relationships into solid connections that will reap a healthy harvest of referrals.

Want to learn more about effective networking and building business by referral? Contact:

Deborah Foster-Stahle, Executive Director
BNI Ontario Central North
deborah@bni-ocn.com
705-730-6648

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A seminar series at The Technology Centre. Spend 45 minutes gaining new knowledge and skills for success and satisfaction in any area of your business or personal life. Bring your lunch, have coffee or tea on us. 12:00 – 1:00 alternating Wednesdays. Visit tech-centre.com/events for more info.
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