Why do we cringe when we hear the word networking? The thought of networking can make us uncomfortable. I mean do we really need to meet more people. Can’t we just be good with who’s in our life now? Maybe the word networking conjures up a bad experience being in a room of strangers or pushy people shoving their product or service down your throat.
STOP THINKING LIKE THAT. Remember the song sung by BarbaraStreisand “People who need people”? That’s why we network. Because we need people. How about instead of networking we call it people working? You need people to buy your product or use your service, people to talking positively about your product or service and people to work in your business.
People working is just a way to find those people. You started your business because you believed. You believed in your passion and the need it fills in the community. Now you need people. Here are some ways to make people working work for you.
1. Start off small. Meet with people you know. Large groups can be intimidating even for seasoned people workers.
2. Focus on learning about other people and their business. Write a few questions ahead of time that you can ask. Some examples are “why did you go into business for yourself?” and “what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given”?
3. Have 30 – 60 seconds of prepared information about you and your business. Some call this an elevator pitch.
4. Join a service organization. Giving back feels good and you’ll be people working without even realizing it.
5. Remember body language is important. Stand up straight. Don’t cross your arms. Keep an open circle, make eye contact, and have a firm handshake. Your mom wasn’t wrong to nag you about these when you were growing up!
Don’t go into it thinking you’re the smartest one there or that you are going to give all the info. Prepare to learn from others. You have two ears and one mouth fora reason. Make the first time you meet someone all about them. Then schedule time to meet them again to talk with them about you. This gives you a chance to meet again and build a relationship.
If you’re spending time cold calling, sending random emails and newsletters, and buying lists, STOP! Find a referral, leads or professional group to visit. You will get better leads, warm referral, build relationships and work smarter not harder.
Put networking to bed. People working is where it’s at. You need to build a network of people who know you, trust you and will refer other people to you. If you want to be seen an as expert in your field, then you need to people work and build relationships. JUST DO IT. Quit sitting there thinking about it and find your tribe.