“Your network is who you know. Your reputation is who knows you.”
Always remember that a good network builds a good reputation. The first builds the second. By getting around the right people, you increase the possibility of introductions and referrals amongst those people you want to get around. However, too often you associate with the wrong people, and find yourself having the wrong kind of conversations. Whose fault is that? Yes, it’s yours!
How are you going to meet the right people who can help move your business forward? You could sit and wait for them to knock on your door. You could do some hard cold-calling. You could advertise, use direct mail or get some good old-fashioned PR. You could even get your website optimised and attract them online.
Alternatively you could go networking. Whether you do it online or offline, networking is a phenomenal way to source and build relationships. But you have to do it on purpose with the right audience. Here are ten tell-tale signs you are talking to the right people:
- They are interested in a long term relationship rather than a one night stand.
- They ask how they can help or advise you rather than sell to you.
- They make the effort to get to know you beyond the current networking experience.
- They demonstrate and illustrate their expertise, rather than assert and claim.
- They wait until they have built sufficient credibility before asking for business or referrals.
- They show signs that they want to talk about non-business things to build trust.
- They have clarity in both their needs and their proposition – this saves a great deal of time!
- They ask more questions of you and your business than you do of them and theirs.
- They are willing to explore possibilities.
- They are willing to introduce you to their network.
When people invest their time and effort into you, and open you up to a wide range of possibilities, you have someone who makes a great networking connection. Likewise, people who do not show signs of wanting to help and build a relationship do not generally represent the best networking contacts to help you move your business forward.
Final point – are you someone who shows the above tell-tale signs?
Rob Brown is one the world’s leading authorities on personal marketing, networking, executive presence, referrals and reputations. He is Head of the Global Networking Council and author of the bestseller How to Build Your Reputation. As well as doing a lot of executive one-to-one mentoring on executive presence, gravitas, reputation building and networking, For a complimentary copy of his powerful 93 page Special Report: The 13 Commandments of Turning Relationships Into Profits (value £47) go to www.rob-brown.com