Is networking as we know it gone? With the impact of social distancing, the days of wine and cheese gatherings have come to a screeching halt, but that’s no reason to put your networking activities on hold.
In the bestselling book, “Build Your Dream Network,” author J. Kelly Hoey sheds light on networking in a hyper-connected world with a brilliant twist. Hoey makes us aware that networking needs a refreshed “branding.” Today’s networking, she explains, leverages the expertise of others in your sphere of influence—it’s not just exchanging cards. With the absence of face-to-face experiential exchanges, Hoey outlines strategies to expand and enrich your networking activities in ways that create a dynamite referral community.
As Bob Burg states in his classic best seller, “Endless Referrals,” getting the business card is only the first step to launching a meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship that results in warm referrals. He advises:
– Add value first to build a bridge of trust to earn someone’s confidence before asking for business.
– Networking should be a practiced method of building relationships that support each party’s respective needs.
– Networking requires planning, designing activities and initiatives, and finally, execution. Purposeful networking can be a rich resource for building a powerful referral business.
Consider the following strategies to take advantage of this new market and deploy fresh initiatives for networking.
Think “intentionality and purpose” before profit. Study your sphere of influence and observe individuals who are positioned to connect your services as a value to others in their marketplace. Being strategic with direct services by focusing on more specific aligned verticals is smarter and more effective than general and random networking.
Hoey states that “networking is a two-way street.” Put your own agenda aside for a moment to recognize that everyone has the same goal: to get more business through others. Brainstorm how to be of relevant value to someone else’s sphere of influence as you build your networking plan.
Link up on LinkedIn. Get active on business-to-business mega-platforms like LinkedIn. Spruce up your profile, upgrade from free to business, and engage with groups whose business services align with yours. If you are in real estate, seek groups that offer conversation. Join in discussions and share resources. Think give first, not get, to create higher value and visibility.
Engage in online conversations. Comment on posted articles, blogs, podcasts and videos. Share your articles and posts, as well as others’, with your sphere of influence. Be sure to tag key influencers to make them aware of your intention to showcase their expertise to your community.
Develop a “network mindset.” Create an MVP list of 50 people whose expertise you are excited to share with others. Contact your list monthly and include professionals to stay in touch with.
When you are focused on building a network of high-trust, high-level experts and influencers, and you are willing to share, nurture and promote their services to others, you can be the star of your own network!
Terri Murphy is a communication engagement specialist, author, consultant and Workman Success Systems master coach. She is the author of five books, a TED Talk speaker and the founder of Women’s Wisdom Network on Facebook. For more information, visit terrimurphy.com or email Terri@TerriMurphy.com.