How long does it take to establish a networking relationship?
There is no set answer. It takes time.
How much time does it take to show a prospect you are credible, honorable, have a good company and can deliver consistently? It takes time.
How much time are you willing to invest in your network? Therein lies the answer as to how successful networking will be for you.
I belong to the Charlotte Chamber, Early Risers Leads Club, Business Growth Network, Metrolina Business Council, Penwork and five other groups. I regularly attend meetings, give my time to make the groups better, strive for leadership positions, and work hard to establish and maintain relationships. I also am involved in four community and civic organizations. That's how I network. I've spent the last five years building my network. My findings are reduced to two words – it works.
How and where do you network? Do you just attend functions or are you involved in the group? Are you just a taker, or are you willing to get involved and help the group succeed with your hard work and dedication?
Penwork is a group of CEO's and principals whose purpose is to exchange clients and do business with one another. At a Penwork meeting last week, we tried to define what makes networking succeed. Here are the combined findings of 25 driving CEO's:
Ten Guidelines for Succeeding at Networking:
- Go where your prospects are – Try to select groups and organizations that have the best chance of bearing fruit. One good indication is if one or some of your present customers belong.
- Be prepared when you get there – Having the tools to make contacts, cards, and your appointment book are essential in confidence building.
- It takes time to build trust and get to understanding – For the first few meetings just listen and observe. Pushing too quickly gives others a wary feeling. See where and how you can best fit into the group. Just get to know and help quality people, the rest will take care of itself.
- After you meet a prospect in a group, get one on one – You can get to know someone quite well in an hour if you talk about real issues and avoid weather and politics.
- Every networking contact need not be a sale – Often one breeds the other. Just get to know and help quality people, the rest will take care of itself.
- Be seen as a leader and consistent performer – By getting involved you will be observed by your prospect. He or she will get to know you as a performer, a doer, a leader.
- Give first – This is a key to any relationship, not just business. The classic Zig Ziglar line "You can get whatever you want if you help enough people get whatever they want," is the best way to describe "give first."
- Don't measure – If you count who owes who what favor, forget it. Just get to know and help quality people, the rest will take care of itself. (Are you getting the idea?)
- Don't push – If you are sincere about establishing long term relationships, don't put pressure on someone to deliver immediate business. I'm not saying don't do business if the opportunity presents itself, I am saying don't push business.
- Mature relationships breed sales – If you build a solid relationship with someone, they will go out of their way to find you business. And the recurring universal networking rule applies here too – Just get to know and help quality people, the rest will take care of itself.
Your ability to build a successful network is tied to your determination and dedication to take whatever time is necessary to build quality relationships. And you're lucky – the outcome of your success is totally self–determined.
Building solid relationships thru networking takes time.
But... mature relationships breed sales.
NETWORKING...The Official Game™. If you're going to play, play to win. Just go to www.gitomer.com, register if you're a first time user and enter the word GAME in the GitBit box.