Having spent a good part of my early life shy and introverted, the idea of marketing myself was the biggest challenge I had to overcome. It meant I would have to overcome the fear of talking to people or risk not accomplishing my goals. Putting myself into first a monthly networking group and then a weekly executive group got me out of those uncomfortable feelings (small steps).
Networking helped me focus on helping other people with their problems. So I built my Success Motivation business and Mind Masters program by Networking, which provided me with the lessons along the way that helped me grow as a person as well as a business owner. Networking positioned me to see how I could be of service to clients, associates and strategic alliances. At first I just listened and found I could help others find new options. Weekly presenting myself got me comfortable being in front of a group and helped me build trust with those in the group.
Networking helped me learn and develop the skill of understanding people and what they are interested in, they were interested in themselves, not me. So I created a plan to grow my business that involved personal development; developing awareness of people as I began casual conversations, asking engaging questions and exchanging meaningful dialogue.
Over the years my role in networking is to be friendly and open, projecting confidence and using people’s interest in themselves to get them to talk about themselves. I found out early that people like to feel important, so when I listened to them they saw me as someone of value. By making commitments, both to the groups as well as my plan, I produced the growth and success I wanted. Networking helped me establish relationships, and provided me with feedback for on going growth.
Over the years I have seen others come into groups not sure what to expect, but when they stepped up, found the person inside that needed to come out.
Some things to think on:
♦When you know the kind of clients you are after, choose the group that fits your target audience.
♦Be patient and willing to spend more time developing relationships.
♦Commit to being on a committee and meeting up with people on a one-on-one basis.
Here are some questions from Jeffrey Gitomer that will help you prepare your plan: How friendly are you? How easy is it for you to make friends?
What kind of image do you want to project?
When you show up at a networking event, how prepared are you?
Is your focus short term gain, or long term relationships?
Do you always do what you say you will do?
Do you always provide as much value as you expect to get?