TEAM Talk Radio
Episode 1. What is Networking to You?
How timely! Today when I opened up my Facebook to see what was happening in the world, I saw this online poll of business owners asking, “what is networking to you?” Here are some of the comments:
- Networking means building authentic relationships where meaningful value is shared, collaborations might take place, new introductions will be made and ultimately trust can be established as we begin to know and like one another. It should be the lifeline of every business in today’s world.
- It means connecting with intent to help others. Networking is my business and my life. Sometimes I connect business to business, sometimes friend to friend and sometimes I help someone connect with their mission if they have wandered off course.
- Networking is part of my business that helps me get more clients without doing any marketing.
- Although most of prospects come from LinkedIn, I have found that in person networking has been valuable to my business. It gives me the opportunity to meet more people and really build the know, like, and trust factor. With that being said all networking is not created equal.
- It’s the bloodline to my business and happily I love it. It’s always a good thing.
- General networking is mostly a waste of time.
- I’m in a Referral group any networking outside of that has been a waste of my time. Most of my clients come from LinkedIn anyway.
- Networking to me means getting to know people and establish a positive relationship. Building each other up. Its effective and I’m learning from others helps me build my business.
My own views of networking have changed over the years. There’s a lot to learn and understand and you have to be confident about who you are and what you do.
You see, when I first began networking back in 2006, I got off to a really. slow. start.
The truth is I was too afraid to attend my first Mixer. I remember I could see the Mixer attendees mingling in the courtyard of the venue as I pulled into the parking lot where the Mixer was located. I didn’t have the guts to walk in that night. Although I knew what to say, where to place my name badge, how to properly shake hands (and more!), I needed to build my confidence before I could begin building business relationships. I remember calling my husband from the parking lot that night saying, “I’m coming home. I’ll go next month…”
My first networking breakfast was also a bust. I’m certain I made a terrible impression that day. You see, the host of the meeting looked me in the eye and asked, “Teri, would you like to tell us about yourself?” (Remember, this was my first meeting.) So, I told everyone all about me—what business I was in, where I was from, that I was married with two kids… I went on and on. I’m not sure how long they let me talk. And then all the other attendees stood up and gave a polished one-minute business commercial. I felt so stupid.
Even from these humble beginnings, I soon gained some confidence and was networking everywhere. That was a problem in itself. I mistakenly thought I needed to be a member of many organizations. I spent a lot of time at networking events and mistakenly believed that I needed to be known by many to make connections. I did very little follow-up and connecting in between meetings, so while many professionals knew of me and my organization, I didn’t know very many of the people I had met in a real and meaningful way.
I remember around this time, several people asked me if I had met Kelli Holmes, the Founder of TEAM Referral Network. I was told by multiple people, “You’ve got to meet Kelli!” The day came when we met. She told me about TEAM and invited me to visit a chapter. I invited her to visit my networking organization. We even co-hosted events together. Wine Mixers. Martini Mixers. It was fun!
I joined TEAM Referral Network, and Kelli joined my organization. TEAM is a structured, referral organization that meets weekly. I didn’t get it. Initially I thought, you mean I’ve got to see these people every. single. week. I would attend and participate each week, and in between meetings I didn’t call any of the members, I didn’t follow up with them, and I did not spend with any of them. I just didn’t get relationship marketing. I was more of a hit and run networker.
What do you think I got out of these networking efforts? Not much. And how sad, because I was meeting lots of professionals at the time and if I would have tried at all, I could have given my fellow networking partners many referrals.
Over time, I have learned and began teaching hundreds of small business owners that having the heart of being a giver is the key to relationship marketing. It’s all about connecting with professionals in a meaningful way. After all, we do business with those we know, like, and trust. Investing time in building key relationships is one of the most valuable and rewarding things you can do in your life and business.
More so, as I have matured as a networker and a leader to small business owners, I have realized the vital importance that networking is serious business. And we all need to take it more seriously. Each person you meet has a “why”. Building their business is vital to the family. This is their legacy they are building. They have a desire to help others. Some of the people you meet are thinking BIG and want to make a global impact on the world!
And you meet these professionals and simply leave their business card in the stack of cards on your desk. You have an incredible connection for them and you don’t take the time to send an email. You know you should schedule coffee with them to get to know them better, and you don’t call. You want to invite them to your networking group, and you never take the time.
Today, no matter whether you’re brand new at networking or have years of experience, I’d like to challenge you to level up how serious you take your networking activities.
At the next networking event that you attend, when you meet someone you would like to connect with, set an appointment on the spot to meet for coffee. Or even better—ask them if they have some time to stay after the event and chat. When you do meet, level up your intention to help this person. Take the time to share with each other what you do and brainstorm how you might be able to help each other in the future. Repeat this over and over.
If we all level up our networking, we will all do more business, help more people, and make a greater impact on the world.
What is networking to you? I’d love to hear from you:
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Voice Message me here on Anchor.fm.
This week’s Network Training from TEAM.
Training Your Sales Team
As members of TEAM you have several opportunities to train your “sales team” on the type of business you are looking for. You have the informal networking part of the meeting, your One Minute Business Commercial, your TEAM Presentation and when you are doing “Coaching Sessions”. During these times try doing the following:
- Focus on why you do what you do better than your competitors, make sure your networking partners understand how you are different.
- Tell them specifically who your clients are and what type of business you would like them to refer to you.
- Tell them where they can find that type of business.
- Instruct your team on how to start conversations that will lead to opportunities for them to refer you to the people in their lives, (their family, friends, business associates, clients, people they meet, etc.).
The more information you provide for your “sales team”, the more they will know how to promote your business to other people.
Quote of the Day.
“Don’t count the days, make the days count.” – Muhammed Ali