I have often been asked, and only this morning have been asked, “Tom, what do you get out of meeting so many people, giving them a great wrap on Facebook and spreading the word about their businesses. My answer is not an easy one and not a one-word answer so here I go:
Here is the long answer 😊
I, like anyone else, am building a business. Without trust and rapport, you won't get business. You need people to believe in you first and then your product/service/offering. Furthermore, without trust and rapport, no one is going to refer you to his or her network because it becomes a case of reputational damage should something go wrong. So trust is important. I provide a great wrap for people because they have a lot to offer and I trust in their skills to deliver what they say they are going to deliver.
I never do anything halfheartedly. I put all my energy into everything I do. We only live once and only have one shot at our lives. So make it count. Hence why a great wrap is given by me and why my introductions between businesses are comprehensive and very personal. Do it properly or don’t do it at all.
So to get to this point of great reviews, goodwill, how does one get here? I have been actively networking all my career. I have a flamboyant personality, I am high on adrenaline (many will attest to that), and I absolutely love the topic of philanthropy. I love meeting people, learning about people and helping nourish people’s abilities and efforts so we all can work together to achieve a clear, unified goal being “Life”. Here are some pointers to take with you to your next networking gig:
Keep your business cards in your pocket or bag. Don’t bring them out. The biggest turn off is business cards at 50 paces and people who are too quick just to put business cards in your hand. How many people like when they go to someone's house, and the first thing that happens is their family dog humps your leg? I certainly don’t.
Before you go to an event, try and find out who is going to the event. If there is someone you want to be introduced to, all you have to do is ask. It is a lot easier to network with warm introductions.
Learn to have an elevator pitch for your business. When you are given 60 seconds (30 seconds in some places) to talk about your business, get to the point and have that elevator pitch that is sharp about your business. Anything over the 60 second time becomes yawn factor. The key is short, sharp stories, not long stories. Especially when there are so many to digest. Sometimes the best elevator pitch is awareness of a current issue in your industry and advice for people to remediate this in their business.
Never discount anyone in a networking group as someone who cannot help you make introductions. Until you meet them, know them, you won't know where the synergies are. Sometimes the best synergies are in places you are not looking. But someone else is always looking. Be vigilant.
One thing that Duc Pham said to me, which has stuck in my head recently, is, you go to a networking event to show people you are human and they get to see the human side of you as you represent your business. This is one of the key factors you need to build a reputation for your business.
These are other key skills you pick up along the way, use them subtly. Networking is all about a conversation. We have them every day. Make every minute count. Remember that a one on one; we are not referring. That happens later. We are learning about, and how to refer each other’s businesses and develop synergies. It is a two-way street, not one-way.
The key takeaway here is, nice things go a long way and remember, it is only a conversation.