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The 59 Commandments of Business Networking – 27 – 59!

March 8, 2013

The 59 Commandments of Business Networking

Business networking  is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting tools you can use to grow your business. Of course, done incorrectly it can actually be harmful to your business.

Somewhere down the road salespeople were given the idea that business networking meant pitching and selling. Eek! Nothing could be further from the truth.

27. Focus on giving.

28. Show up regularly and on time. When you show up late and/or infrequently, you send a message to your fellow group members:

  • You tell them that you only care about yourself because you don’t take the time to learn about their needs.
  • You show them how you deal with business meetings and associates. Why would they trust you with their clients? How can they be sure you’ll treat them well?

29. Come prepared. Have a specific list of referral needs. The more specific you can be, the more referrals you’ll receive.

30. Always ask for what you need. We are never so busy that we don’t need more prospects in our pipeline. If you don’t ask all the time, you’ll run the risk of getting into a place where you never ask.

31. Be present. Once again, be sure you are really listening to the needs of the group members. Don’t play with your phone or answer e-mails while others are talking. Really listen and think about how you can help them.

32. Meet with the members individually between meetings so you can get to know them better.

33. Do not try to sell your fellow group members when you have your one-on-one meetings.

34. Do not expect to get until you give.

35. Do not expect to get right away. It takes time to build the relationships with group members so you trust them and they trust you.

36. Consider the other group members as resources to you and your contacts. When you know how they do business and trust them, you can use them as resources when people mention needs those group members can solve. This can elevate you in the eyes of your contacts, prospects and clients.

37. Do give quality referrals and leads. I knew a man who would write up a referral and put “Do not use my name“ on the sheet. That is not helpful. I’ve also seen a situation where someone gave a referral but called the referee later and said, “Don’t call that person.” That’s not helpful! Don’t give garbage. It’s better to not give at all.

38. Make sure your clients, contacts and associates are open to you giving their names and contact information to your group members. One of the worst things that can happen is for you to refer a group member to a client, only to have the client get mad.

Your job is to know your clients and contacts well enough that you know who would be open to taking a call and who would rather not. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t connect these people. It just means that, instead of passing on the person’s name and contact information, you may have to make the introduction. Reach out to your contact and set the stage for your group member.

39. Follow up! If someone gives you a referral, treat it like gold. You want to be sure that you follow up on it right away. Imagine how you’ll make the other person feel if they refer you to someone and you don’t follow up in a timely manner. It won’t make them want to refer you again. It takes time to build relationships with the people in your referral group. Don’t destroy that trust by failing to take a referral seriously.

Social networking

Now what about social networking? What is it really all about and how can you navigate it successfully? Social media has given us a great platform for accelerating the relationship building process. It does not replace face-to-face meetings; rather, it enhances the process. Consider this: You connect with someone at an event. Then you ask them to connect with you on LinkedInFacebook or both. Now you can interact with them online. You can learn even more about them by taking a look at their profile. What groups are they in? What discussions do they participate in? Who are they connected to?

Just like event networking and referral/leads group networking, there are guidelines you should follow when participating in online social networking. These social networking commandments will help you continue to grow your network and your business.

40. Decide who you want to be. Of course, you should be you! What I mean is that before you say something in your news feed or in a discussion, make sure it maps with how you want others to know you.

I participate on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and some blogs. I always think before I write anything. First, I want to be sure I am being consistent with my message. Second, I know that my clients and prospects come from varying backgrounds and belief systems. I want to be sure that nothing I say will change the way they think of me. This is especially true for social networks like Facebook. The intersection of social and business is very blurry. Interacting with people in these arenas helps you get to know them on a personal level. That can work for or against you. So, think about what kinds of conversations you want to engage in before you write something.

41Don’t spam. No one likes spam and that includes pitch messages on social networking. Use the platforms as a way to continue to build relationships and expand your network. Irritating people won’t help you accomplish that.

42. Limit the self-promotion. You can let people know what you are up to as long as that’s not your only topic of conversation.

43. Share information. People love to learn things. Use social networking as a way to share relevant information with other people.

44. Tell people why you want to connect with them. Don’t use the standard connection script if you can help it.

45. Participate. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.

46. Don’t assume that being connected to someone gives you permission to pitch. It doesn’t.

47. If you want an introduction through one of your contacts, make sure you explain why you want it.

48. Your online connections are just as valuable as your offline connections. Treat them that way.

49. Take the time to get to know people you meet via social networking. When you engage in a conversation with someone, belong to a group with them, or read something they wrote, ask them to connect directly. Then build the relationship.

50. Pay attention. Social networking is just like in-person networking. You want to approach it as a way to learn things. When you pay attention to the chatter, the events, groups and conversations you’ll learn an awful lot about the people in your network. You’ll also learn about people you should be connected to.

51. Don’t sell. This goes along with spamming and self-promotion. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Of course it does. That’s because social networking has nothing to do with selling. It has everything to do with building relationships so you can grow your business.

52. You don’t have to connect with everyone. You can make decisions about who you connect with on different platforms. Just be consistent. If you decide that you don’t want to be connected to business associates on Facebook, then don’t. If someone you don’t knows requests a connection to you, you are under no obligation to connect with them.

53. Be a giver. Whenever you can connect people or help someone with a question, do it.

54. Be yourself. Don’t hide behind a persona. Remember that people do business with people they trust. You have to be you in order for people to get to know you.

55. Use your picture as a profile photo.

56. Don’t carry on private conversations in public. Use common sense and good judgment and contact people privately when you want to have a one-on-one conversation.

57. Go to events. When an online group you are in has an in-person function, go to it. Meet the people you’ve been interacting with. It helps to build the relationship.

58. Suggest a meeting. When you connect with someone via social networking, follow up and suggest a meeting. The meeting can be via phone, Skype or in person, depending on geography. Don’t let physical distance get in your way. In this day and age it doesn’t have to be a deterrent to growing a business relationship.

59. Be approachable. I’m not going to get the chance to know you and like you if you are aloof. No one is so special that they are untouchable. Besides, who would want to build a relationship with someone distant?


The 59 Commandments of Business Networking


“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” Napoleon Bonaparte

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Forthcoming events  – all giving you the chance to participate in events that will give you numerous opportunities.

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  • Do you want to generate opportunities that will enhance your business?
  • Do you want to build mutually beneficial relationships with other decision makers?
  • Do you want your networking to be relaxed and comfortable?
  • How about business seminars that can positively impact your business?
  • Would a huge variety of contacts that are useful to your business?
  • Do you want the opportunity to promote your business and expertise?
  • Do you want a team of advocates and ambassadors for your business?
  • What about generating an ROI on your networking?
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