That got me to thinking how important networking is to our individual growth and expertise. Learning from others is a key element to our knowledge base, and it helps create relationships that can be long-lasting and beneficial, which is the case with my author this morning. But so many people either see it as something they don’t “like” to do or want to do. This got me to thinking that perhaps people don’t “like” to do it because they don’t know how. That’s when Bob Burg’s name immediately popped into my head! Talk about a convoluted way to get to a topic! Sorry, this is a true process. I didn’t make it up!
Anyway, John Daly, in his book The Key Class, said: “You don’t need to be a social butterfly to be a good networker. All you really need is to be a good listener! Get people to talk about themselves by asking questions and just listening. They’ll think you are one of the sharpest people they’ve ever met. It’s true! People love to talk about themselves!” And, he borrowed from Bob Burg’s book, Endless Referrals.
In his book, Burg provides tips to ensure you meet your networking goals.
1. Take the initiative by introducing yourself.
When you get the chance, Burg says to identify and then introduce yourself to people he calls the “Center of Influence.” These are people who are longstanding and active members of your community, and who in all likelihood know and can introduce you to people you will benefit from knowing.
2. Use Burg’s “can’t miss” networking questions.
Burg recommends using what he calls “feel good” questions. These are questions that are not “probing or sales oriented in any way.” Because of this, they are perfect to use at a networking event where your goal should not be to sell or talk about yourself. In fact, when networking, your goal should be to learn about the other person. As we all know by now, people are most interested in themselves.
Here are Burg’s ten questions:
· How did you get started in the widget business?
· What do you enjoy most about your profession?
· What separates you or your company from the competition?
· What advice would you give someone just starting out in the widget business?
· What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?
· What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession over the years?
· What do you see as the coming trends in the widget business?
· Can you describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced while running your business?
· What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?
· What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?
3. The most important question you will ask at a networking event.
The whole key to networking is not to act like you’re just there to find a buyer for what you sell. If you’re too pushy or give a nonstop sales pitch, you’ll quickly turn people off. The best way to network is to take an interest in and help other people. After you get to know someone a little bit, the one question to ask that Burg says “separates the pros from the amateurs” is “How can I know if someone I’m speaking to is a good prospect for you?” This question immediately tells the person that you could be an important contact for them. Plus, it takes full advantage of the “Law of Reciprocity”: if you help someone else, they will want to return the favor. (That’s what happened on my phone call this morning.)
4. Remember and use people’s names.
It goes without saying that it’s important to remember people’s names. If you can’t remember the name of the person with whom you are talking, he or she will think you’re not interested enough in them to make the effort. A person’s name is music to their ears. A networking technique Burg suggests using after you meet someone is to go back to them later and use their name. You’re bound to make a big impression on him or her. The other person may have forgotten your name already, but he or she will make a point of knowing who you are from that moment on.
5. Introduce people you meet to each other.
By doing this, you start to become a “Center of Influence.” After you introduce people to each other, explain how they could possibly benefit each other. If you’ve asked them both the above “most important question you’ll ever ask at a networking event,” you’ll be able to suggest to them how to identify people who are likely prospects for their services. Remember, it’s all about giving. If you do it enough and sincerely, good things are bound to happen to you.
6. Give people your business card.
The number one purpose of giving people your business card is not so that they have your business card, but so that you have theirs. Once you have their contact information, you can use it to refer business to them, send them articles that might interest them and generally keep the relationship going.
7. Give people your complete focus.
When you’re talking to someone, give them your complete focus. Nothing will stop a relationship from flourishing quicker than if the other person gets the impression you’re not really listening to them. Ignore what’s going on around you and give the person you’re talking to your complete attention.
8. Think of networking as a fun adventure.
Attitude is everything in life, especially when you’re in networking mode. If you look at networking as something you “have to do,” you might as well stay home. Always think of it as an exciting and fun adventure, and you’ll do just fine.
How will you know if you’re doing a good job networking? Burg writes in his book:
“If you are networking correctly, the other person will never notice you are networking.”
What great advice, something we can all reach for. Remember, people don’t like to be sold to—they like to buy. If you can come off as the solution to one of their problems in a non-sales, consultative way, there’s a good chance it will be an easy decision for them to hire you.
About Bob Burg
Bob Burg is an author and speaker best-known for his book Endless Referrals. Over the past few years, his business parable The Go-Giver (coauthored with John David Mann) has captured the imagination of readers. He regularly addresses corporations and associations internationally, including Fortune 500 companies, franchises and numerous direct sales organizations.
About John Daly
John Daly is the founder and president of The Key Class, based in Santa Barbara, CA. He is also the author of The Key Class – The Keys to Job Search Success.
Til Next Time