Saturday, January 9, 2010

7 Ways to Build Your Business by Networking

Do you love to Network? Do you network? Do you even understand the value of networking? I first learned the value of networking in my early 20's and believe to this day many of my successes can be attributed to my ability to effectively network beginning at a young age.

I remember being invited to an ICSC party in Las Vegas when I was 25 by a retailer I was in the midst of negotiating a deal with and the guest list represented the who's who as far as retailers are concerned.

It was evident to me almost immediately that I was the only broker at a party intended to keep us out (and retailers in).

I even tuned out the few who were gossiping behind my back about the fact that I wasn't on the official invite list and thus shouldn't be there.

Youth was on my side; being naïve at the time I focused on meeting and beginning relationships with as many of these individuals as I could.

And I was genuinely interested in them as people first, what they did for a living second, and lastly how I might be of assistance to them - not the other way around. My Rolodex grew by leaps and bounds that evening.

Little did I know that evening would lay the groundwork for the next several years as I got more deals done then my competition because my calls got returned.

I had developed the emotional equity I needed. I connected to develop relationships and without the open hand most others seem to have.

Attending networking events with a "what's in it for me" attitude is transparent and extremely unattractive. So just how should one approach networking to get the biggest bang for the buck? I am glad you asked, read on...

1. Learn to appreciate relationships: Appreciate one person daily. This can be done with a phone call, email or personal note and only takes minutes. The benefits of this one tiny habit alone will produce a tremendous payoff.

2. Practice networking one day at a time: While in line at Starbucks, the grocery store, even the airport practice striking up a conversation. Eventually you will be able to do this with ease. And, you never know when you'll come across just the person you've been looking for.

3. Join a networking group:
There are so many - Rotary, Kiwanis, The Chamber of Commerce, industry associations, mastermind groups. Join these groups to meet new friends and to help foster the success of their business.

4. Go to industry functions:
ICSC, CCIM, SIOR, NAIOP, CREW (for the ladies in the business), anything! Just go and enjoy the people you came across. Have the intention to seek out one person at each event whom you can help. Become resource rich!

5. Learn to smooze: Practice making people comfortable around you. Learn how to talk on a variety of subjects thereby being able to choose from your conversational arsenal when needed.

6. Make connections:
Approach a group or person, introduce yourself and learn something about each person - be interested. Now, go back to your office and follow-up with each person.

7. Offer help and follow through:
If you're in the position to help someone you meet networking, follow through and do it. The law of reciprocity will pay you back ten-fold.

The bottom line - be sincerely interested in people and cultivate the talent to be of genuine service to others with no expectations in return.

The practice of networking will provide you with many "get out of jail cards" to cash in when you need them!

Who can you reach out to today?

By : Cindy_Saxman_Spivack

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