Written by: Joanne Martin, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Networking is something people immediately love or hate. It is a word that is often thrown around in business, but very few practices. For some, it might bring up memories of boring meetings where people are passing business cards, but no one is taking interest in getting to know the person they are standing next to.
Networking in business is about bringing together like-minded individuals with a common goal, interest, or idea to achieve an outcome. For some entrepreneurs, networking is part of their sales pipeline, a way of creating leads, building relationships, and developing sales opportunities.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs utilize networking to form ongoing business relationships. This includes developing business opportunities, sharing information, creating joint venture projects, raising capital, and identifying potential collaboration partners.
If you can master the crucial art of networking and execute it skillfully it will open doors to opportunities you can only dream of. Networking is a great way to tap into top talent, land new clients, and strategically expand your network.
We are hard-wired for connection and belonging. While it is important for each of us to retain our unique personality and nature, being with others and seeing how we fit in the whole is part of being human. For those in business, it is essential to growth and expansion. Human connection involves an energy exchange between people who are mindful, awakened, and in tune with each other. The connection has the power to inspire change, build trust, bring people into the moment and create lasting relationships. On a soul level, human beings are seeking connection with others to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. The ability to connect is an important aspect of building your tribe, creating a community, and delivering value to clients who are aligned with your purpose. When I started my publishing company I immediately went to my existing network and that is how I got the first five contributors in my multi-author book Innovation Secrets. If you want to make the most of your next Zoom collaboration call, BNI event, or conference be sure to learn more about the person than what they do, find out what makes them tick.
Here are three questions that will quickly move you beyond surface-level chat to deep connection.
What has been a defining moment in your life?
What inspired you to start your business?
What do you love to do when you´re not working?
Ask anyone in business if they would prefer a referral or a cold lead and they will choose an introduction every time. It costs far less money and chances are much greater that it will be a long-term relationship which means repeat business.
If you think about people who love what you do, are inspired by your purpose and are supportive of new projects you launch, then they are the perfect people to have in your referral funnel. Referrals are the gold sitting in your network that you can most easily convert to raving fans. One simple and easy way to motivate your referral partners after they have bought into your vision is to reward them. This could be public recognition, awards, or affiliate commissions. When I introduced this concept around my book, it leads to selling out over 50% of the spots without traditional marketing or ads. If you would like to be the kind of business that is easy to refer to keep these three keys in mind.
Know exactly who your ideal client is and be able to articulate it to your referral network in 3 sentences or less.
Have clear offers and price points. It is a bonus if you have sales pages or one-sheets that can easily be shared.
Let your referral network know the best way to introduce you to those who are potential clients so no one slips through the cracks.
5 Experts Weigh In With Their Favourite Networking Tips
Most entrepreneurs and business owners have their own ‘secret formula’ for networking and apply this to create success. To help you reframe your thinking around networking, I reached out to 5 experts to share their number one tip for powerful networking.
"Ask yourself, how do you want others to feel in your presence? Be intentional - in every interaction you’re activating your Personal Brand." — Charli Fels, Brand Architect at OSTRICH180.
Christina Kim from Melinz Kim & Assoc. P/L Architects believes to:
"Find common ground and be interested in their stories" is the key to networking success.
“I was always a positive, outgoing person, yet I suffered from imposter syndrome for years (at networking). Finally, I realised that while positivity got me through adversity, it was only confidence that got me my goals” reflects Julie Watson from Stronger Than My Excuses.
Values Educator, Gabrielle Bailey, says the key to networking is ‘to be authentic, in who you are, how you show up, what you and your business stand for, so you can attract the people and business that is aligned with your values’.
"Listen and ask great questions, look for ways you can add value. Don’t ask for a job. Reciprocate and share connections and learnings" recommends Career Innovation Coach, Robyn Greaves.
Relationships are at the core of a sustainable and authentic business. If you haven´t had a good experience in the past perhaps it´s time to let that go and redefine what networking can be for you.
Joanne Martin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Joanne Martin is the CEO and Founder of Golden Earth Publishing. She’s an International Best-Selling Author and Book Writing Coach for ambitious business owners who are ready to position themselves as the thought leader and go-to expert in their field.
Joanne works globally with clients to up-level their businesses, increase revenue opportunities, and magnify their marketing impact through published literary works. Her work is a bespoke blend of the book writing strategy, mindset mastery, and innovative business ideas to create exponential professional growth and positive global impact.