Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
to Avoid Common Mistakes and Maximize Your Networking
By Dave Block and Victoria Munro
is built on relationships, and networking
can be an effective, affordable way to spread the word
about your businesses. Realizing this, many business
owners spend a great deal of time and energy attending
networking events, yet without understanding how to
maximize their success. In this article, we’ll
focus on how to avoid common mistakes and get the best
return on your networking investment.
Networking Turn-Offs that Can Sabotage
to sell your products or services the first time
you meet someone
your business card to someone who has not asked
so eager to gain new clients or customers that you
convey an attitude of desperation
all your thoughts and attention on yourself and
how you can get more business that day
a mask” – pretending to be someone you’re
Focus on Helping Others as You Network
Realize that networking is NOT all
about you! It's about helping other people become successful.
We each have different strengths, skills and areas of
expertise to share with others. One of the basic tenets
of Make-it-Fly® is
that we grow stronger and faster
when we help others to achieve their goals. It
works! It’s immensely rewarding to help others,
and networking affords splendid opportunities to do
is about developing relationships and making friends.
People usually want to do business with people they
know, trust and have a relationship with. We’re
unlikely to buy from someone who simply sticks a card
in our hand and says, “If you need my products
or services, come see me.” It’s arrogant
to suppose that by giving a card to someone, he or she
will automatically choose to do business with us. Successful
business is all about building relationships!
When a client called us asking who
we’d recommend for a particular need they had,
we mentioned several names. We thought one of these
providers would relate especially well with her and
be the ideal resource. “No, she’s on the
other side of the city, and I want to find someone closer,”
was her response. However, at a networking event a few
days later they were introduced, got to know each other
and now have a win-win business relationship. Distance
was no longer important. Simply showing up and making
friends made all the difference!
Successful networking also involves
making the effort to attend
events on a consistent basis - becoming visible
in the community. The greater your visibility and the
more widely known you become, the more you’ll
learn about the needs of others and how you can help
them. When you focus on the needs of your fellow business
owners, you’ll be able to connect them with each
other and help them and build stronger relationships.
Networking is the art of identifying people with whom
you might have a connection, whether they are potential
friends or power partners, and starting in motion the
process of getting to know them. As you network, look
for people whom you feel could become both friends and
potential power partners.
Set up times to meet with them one
on one. When you meet, always be sensitive to their
needs and feelings – don’t
focus on selling to them. A friend recently described
an experience he had when invited to lunch by an individual
he’d met at a networking event. The conversation
was a one-sided hard sell, attempting to pressure him
to sign up for this person’s services. He had
anticipated a mutual discussion – learning about
each other’s businesses. He felt deceived. This
person missed an opportunity to begin building a great
relationship through asking questions and listening
to how he might help.s.
Once you truly appreciate what networking
is and is not, you are ready to start enjoying and benefiting
from the process!
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.
for printable version.
About the Authors: Dave
Block and Victoria Munro are co-founders of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small business owners through creatively-designed programs
and tools. Dave is known as the “Master Networker”
in the business community and loves sharing how to become
a successful business owner by learning the art of networking.
Victoria has started and run nine different businesses..
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