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Monday, February 6, 2012

How To Be a Better Networker BY ADRIAN MILLER FEBRUARY 5, 2012

Last month, I made a New Year’s commitment to make 10 (networking) introductions per day. Yep, that’s right, 10. After announcing my intention, I immediately received a barrage of emails from folks who were simply incredulous. “How in heaven’s name do you have the time to do that?” “How in heaven’s name do you know that many people?”(“Heaven” was actually mentioned more than once.)
So in the hope of shedding some light on my methodology (some might say madness), I have decided to share my tips:
I set a quantitative goal; in my case, 10. But that doesn’t have to be your goal, not at all. The important thing is to have a goal and to stick to it. No excuses; just do it. You know that you can. (Hint: As with all goals, you should set one that is a wee bit of a stretch but can definitely be achieved if you work at it.)
I’m incredibly proactive and by adopting that model, I am better able to make a higher volume of introductions. I don’t wait for low hanging networking fruit (“Hey Adrian, do you know someone who can…”). Rather, I look for connections that might have longer-term value and don’t necessarily equate to an immediate piece of business.
I keep in mind that introductions to referral sources are as good as, and maybe even better than, introductions to a client. One good referral source can lead to many introductions that should (potentially) lead to business. A client is, well, a client—a good thing, for sure, but he or she may not produce many additional referrals over time. (We all know that some clients are truly raving fans and tell many others about our products/services. That’s terrific, but there are just as many clients who are very closed-mouthed and won’t spread the word regardless of how pleased they are with us.)
I keep (mental) track of the folks to whom I make introductions. So, for instance, if you tell me that you network with and get lots of business from a certain type of firm, I do everything in my power to introduce you to as many firms of that type as I know. So for example, if you’re on the receiving end of those introductions from me you should be thinking something like this: Gee, since Adrian is introducing me to so many firms, maybe I’ll introduce her to the ones I know. Makes sense doesn’t it?
I try very hard to be creative when making introductions. Let’s say that you know some of your contacts share a particular hobby. That might be enough to start a terrific relationship that can potentially yield lots of business opportunities. How about introducing two of your own business vendors to each other, recognizing that because they are going after similar types of clients (i.e., owners of small businesses) and because they are not competitive, they might be able to help each other out? How about introducing two people who do the same thing but who specialize and provide different services? They might be able to refer business to each other. You never know, and if you don’t make introductions, the possibilities are crushed before they even begin.
Adrian Miller is the founder of Adrian Miller Sales Training. To find out more or to visit her blog go tohttp://adrianmiller.wordpress.com.

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