7 Steps to Building Your Networking “Well”

Several years ago, business authority, Harvey Mackay wrote a book entitled, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, based on that very well known saying.

Well, at no time more than now is that saying apropos. After all, with today’s volatile job market, competition and hurried, action-now-oriented environment, it’s important
to be able to access everyone and everything you need quickly!

Although “networking” (the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win/win relationships) is not necessarily, in and of itself, a quick process, once your network is established, any help, information or personal access you need is merely a telephone call or email away.

For you, the busy person, building your network (digging your well) can be accomplished as quickly as possible by putting the following plan into action:

1. Think Networking: Every time you meet someone new, determine if this is someone you’d want in your network of contacts (remember, the typical person knows 250 people which means that every new networking relationship you develop successfully expands your personal sphere of influence geometrically).

2. Think Win/Win: Please don’t make the mistake of only asking yourself, “What can this person do for me?” Instead, imagine the various ways you can help him or her. This attitude is what separates the mega-successful networkers from those who merely “think” of themselves as effective networkers.

3. Think “Know you, like you, trust you”: Keep in mind that, all things being equal,people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust. You must be worthy of eliciting those types of feelings towards you in the other person.

4. Ask “feel-good” questions: Personal questions of someone you’ve just met can break rapport instead of establishing it. Feel-good questions simply make the other person feel good about his or herself, the conversation, and about you.

Examples: “How did you get started in the ‘widget’ business?” “What do you enjoy most about what you do?”

* The one Key Question that will separate you from the rest is, “How can I know if somebody I’m talking to would be a good prospect for you?”

5. Send a personal, handwritten thank you note to that person expressing how enjoyable it was meeting them and that, “If I can ever refer business your way, I certainly will.”

6. Send business and referrals to them whenever possible. The best way to get business and get referrals is to give business and give referrals.

7. Always keep your networking contacts in mind. Whenever you come across anyone with a perceived need, immediately ask yourself, “Who in my network could fulfill this person’s wants or needs.”

Then put the two of them together. This also works for when you think of two people already in your network who might make good strategic alliances for and with each other. You are now positioned as their hero.

Do this consistently and, in no time at all, your “well” will be filled. At this point, accomplishing pretty much anything you desire to accomplish, whether personal, business, or situational, will happen quicker than you ever thought possible.

Bob Burg