Networking-photoI remember years back whenever I sat down with my Director to discuss prospect strategy he would flip through his cell phone and say Vinod take this number he is the HR Manager in this company and he can help you out.  Vinod take this number he is Logistics Manager he can help you out.  Vinod take this number she is admin manager in that company; she will help you out.   It was a reckoning and I realized that difference between a successful person and not so successful person is the size and quality of his network.

Two months earlier I met a freelancer and I asked him how many contacts he has in his iPhone.  And he said 16,800. Whenever he gets a new product or new information on his existing products he shoots out message to 16,800 connections and back comes 30 – 40 leads and he converts 4 – 5 of them into Sales.  This is the power of network and your network is your networth.

Now your questions should be how do you build your network.  I will share 11 practical strategies to network effectively and they are

  1. CONNECT :  Whenever you meet someone take down his cell number, email id and enter into your cell phone. Later on expand on it. It does not matter if the connection is studying or an entry level sales executive.  Because he can refer you or introduce or give you word of mouth publicity.  And may be in next 5 years he could be the General Manager of a company.
  2. LinkedIn: Create your LinkedIn account and connect with your customers, prospects, colleagues and friends.  When you are connected on LinkedIn you never make a cold call because now your call is a warm call.  LinkedIn is about knowing without really knowing your connections.
  3. You are sum total of 5 people you spend the most time.  If you analyze your network; it comprises people from your industry. It comprises people from same economic status. Change that now.  If you are a Sales Manager connect with General Managers.  If you are a sales executive connect with Sales Managers, Sales Directors.  Tip # LinkedIn provides you feature under “SAVE SEARCH” wherein you can create list of General Manager (title of your choice) in UAE or in UAE in Health industry.  Once you have done so; strategies to connect with a least 5 General Manager every month.  In next 12 months you would have connected with 60 General Manager (power users). Tip # Secondly connect cross industry; if you are in Health industry connect with people in information technology industry.  Tip # Thirdly when you attend seminars and events connect with Emcee, keynotes speakers and participants in panel discussion.  Because they are open to connect and hungry for acceptance.  Such events are an ideal opportunity to network with influencers.
  4. POWER DRESS:  First impression is the best impression and you only get first chance to make a first impression.  The first impression is formed by your friendly facial gestures and power dress.  And foundation of power dress is a suit of fine fabric and fine stitching.   Power Dress impacts perception of people and it also influences your choices.
  5. ATTITUDE:  Most of us are intimidated when it comes to introducing ourselves to strangers.  We go to the meetings and events with a wrong attitude i.e WIIFM.  Change your attitude to “what can I do for you”  or “who can I help” and you will enjoy networking.
  6. INTERESTED: Be interested:  – Dale Carnegie once said “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”  Be genuinely interested in others when networking.  And best way to show interest is 80% listening and 20% questioning.   When you are interested in others you become more attractive.
  7. TIME:  If you want to network effectively, arrive earlier than others.  Early time is an ideal opportunity to network with organizer and speakers.  And when guests begin pouring, go forward  to connect and make them comfortable.
  8. HAND-SHAKE: Analyze the position of your palm when you shake hands with others.  If your palm is facing down you are dominant type; if your palm is facing up you are submissive type and if its vertical – its business like.   On numerous occasions when I shake hand; others hand appear soft flaccid and limp that shouts I am weak, I am intimidated and I am submissive. Best hand-shake is when its strong and firm.
  9. COMFORT ZONE:  There are two types of networkers – Active and Passive.  Passive stay put with familiar groups or next to the buffet/drink table defeating objective of networking.  Whereas active networkers go around and spend between 4 – 6 minutes with friends and strangers in the hall. They exchange business cards ask questions and find a common denominator between himself and the connection.
  10. BUSINESS CARDS: Networking is not exchanging business cards but Exchanging business cards and finding about your connections.  Ask them open ended questions.
    1. What do you do? Tell me about the work you do in your company.
    2. How did you get into this business?
    3. What do you enjoy about your profession?
    4. Who are your competitors in the market?
    5. Carry 25 cards and ensure that your 25 cards are replaced by other 25 people cards.  Leave when you have exhausted your 25 cards.
  11. FOLLOW UP: Once you return back home, enter the contact list in your cell phone, CRM and LinkedIn.  Connect via email, social media or phone call within next 48 hours and take your discussion farther.  Tip # Use Relationship (It’s below your photo on LinkedIn) features in LinkedIn to tag (Categories) your connections and set meetings with clear agenda under REMINDERS.

Let me assure you if you practice above 11 strategies for the next 120 days you will change your fortune because your network is your networth.