Maybe you’re a veteran of the “networking” arena and agree you could be more effective. Perhaps you’re just getting started and would like to better understand how to network productively. “The Quick Connection” was written as a reference tool to help you effectively impact others and increase your success!
Change Your Agenda!
Over the years with a background that includes franchise sales and network marketing, I too, have experienced the up and down results of representing myself at networking events, standing around at business socials, and Chambers of Commerce “After Hours”. I’ve come to the conclusion that an effective way to increase your success at any of these business gatherings is to alter your agenda! You’re probably wondering, what does she mean? It’s simply this. Instead of going to any of these events specifically to “look for business” go with the agenda of ‘creating relationships’ which I call ‘connecting’.
Here’s an example. Recently, I attended a private reception hosted by a small association. Following ‘networking’ and light refreshments, the participants attended a local theater performance. I initiated a conversation with a woman whose appearance and style attracted me. I went up to her and complimented her on an unusual shirt she was wearing. This lead to the story behind the shirt created increased conversation and fostered getting to know more about one another. In inquiring about her profession, she informed me that while she’s currently employed, she’s actually looking for something else more suited to her technical skills. As she was talking I immediately thought of someone for her to talk with. While I certainly didn’t anticipate any immediate offer, I know the conversation would be of value to both parties.
Here’s what followed. She made plans to get together with my friend to discuss possibilities, bought two copies of my book, “Walk In My Boots – The Joy of Connecting” and registered for an event I was sponsoring. Lesson learned: I went to a pre-get together to connect with colleagues and to foster new ones. My agenda or mindset to ‘meet people’ had nothing to do with selling anything. I simply became a resource for someone. She asked what I do, checked out my website, and decided to pursue our relationship by supporting my program and my product. I saw a new friendship developing!
Give It a Try
With this one example to ‘wet your appetite’, “The Quick Connection”, is an approach you can develop and implement at any networking event. I’m not suggesting keeping business cards tucked away in your pocket or at the bottom of your purse. I’m not suggesting you hold back information when asked, “So, what do you do?” What I’m asking you to consider, however, is for you to pursue a unique approach that over time will get you the results you want without doing what everyone else is doing.
You Already Know The Scenario:
>Shake as many hands as you can.
>Give out and get as many business cards as possible.
> Tell everyone, “I’ll call you.”
>Expect that the people you meet will actually call you.
Then, when it’s over and you’re reviewing the results of your time and effort, you’re left wondering. Who did I really meet? What business possibilities did I really create? What value did anyone really get talking to me? When implemented, “The Quick Connection” will change your mindset during participation in any networking arena simply by changing your approach.
Let’s Get Started!
By now, I hope you’re interested in finding out the components of “The Quick
Connection” and eager to implement new ideas in the marketplace. The plan is based
on 3 separate components:
>“Be Memorable” and
>“Make A Difference”.
I was once asked to describe in one word what I thought the key to success is when networking and I immediately said, “Differentiate”. From that first ah-ha moment, “The Quick Connection” developed. “Be Memorable” has two words and “Make A Difference” – 3. Hence, “The Quick Connection” was born.
If you focus on entering any networking environment with any or all 3 components, your success will increase significantly. Why? Because, you will be viewed as someone who cares, who is eager to help someone else, who leaves having left behind something of value, and who separates himself/herself from the crowd!
Huge satisfaction is gained when others see you as an individual who helps others. You build your reputation and brand as an outstanding person. The person you impact experiences you as an individual because of who you are and not because of the work you do. This kind of relationship is built on a solid foundation. The person you help is likely to tell others. The energy around giving is attractive. Others will be attracted to you and want to help you as well. It’s easy to receive support when you are a supporter. People notice. You stand out. When you break away from what you see other individuals doing you are being unique. Being unique makes all the difference when business decisions are being made. With whom would you rather do business:
The person who threw a business card at you at some networking event or the person with whom you’ve developed a relationship? It’s easy to be that person. All that’s required is consistently following “The Quick Connection”. Being consistent is key. You never know who is watching. You will create your unique brand to the degree that your behavior remains consistent in the marketplace!
Begin Anywhere. Begin Anytime. Just Begin
It doesn’t matter where one begins – the first, second, or third strategy. The order is irrelevant. What is critical, however, is that you make a conscious decision to “Differentiate”, “Be Memorable” and/or “Make A Difference” every time in every transaction. Yes, in every transaction! How else are you going to remain consistent if you pick and choose your situations? Your #1 goal is to be remembered. I’ve already shared the value of being unique. You simply never know whose watching or listening. If you stop to consider all the people you meet on any given day and all the possible ways that you can interact differently, you have a major opportunity to be unique.
If your main focus on a daily basis is in the business arena, you will want to create more revenue in the least amount of time to produce the best possible results. I would say to you, “If whatever you are doing is working for you, keep doing it. If, on the other hand, you’re not making the progress you want the closing sales, perhaps there is a more effective way to build results. “The Quick Connection” is the better way.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Before we address the business arena, let’s practice throughout our day-to-day activities. For example, you start a particular day at the dry cleaners. Do you appreciate the clerk that waits on you and is there by 7 a.m. or earlier to serve you? Do you know his or her name? Do you use the name before or after the transaction? From now on, try this. You walk in and immediately tell the person who waits on you something to brighten his/her day. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that you open so early in the morning.” Or, “I don’t know what I’d do without your great service.” Or, “I sure wish all businesses were as pleasant and efficient as yours.” Get the picture? All you’re doing in each of these scenarios is establishing your uniqueness from every other customer that walks in the door. Do you think you will stand out? No doubt about it.
How about another example? Most bank tellers and retail clerks wear a personalized name tag. How many customers do you think actually call people by their name? From now on, every time someone services you in some way, I’m suggesting you say the following: “I appreciate you, name. Thanks for handling the deposit, helping me find the item I couldn’t locate, having the film ready on time, bagging my groceries”, etc. or whatever else that person did to make your life easier. After a while, the people who serve you will be telling everyone about you! (For example, I have created a terrific relationship with the woman who is in charge of produce at my local grocery store. Liz knows I’m a vegetarian and always ‘goes in the back to select the freshest fruits and vegetables for me.) The check-out clerks love waiting on me because I always express my appreciation, acknowledge them when it’s been a long day and they’re tired, wish them a great holiday, etc. It takes little effort. It feels wonderful when you can impact someone else’s life even in a small way. Remember to “Differentiate”, “Be Memorable” and/or “Make A Difference” whenever you are interacting with someone.
Something To Think About I once heard the expression: “How you are at anything is how you are in everything.” The choices you make in the way you treat people have a ripple effect. Others will follow your lead. What you do in your personal life will have a huge impact on the way you relate to individuals in the business arena. In what I’ve shared so far, I’m simply setting the stage by giving you easy examples and ways you can demonstrate your uniqueness. Once you get used to applying “The Quick Connection”, it will become a very natural way of connecting with others.
You Just Never Know
A colleague of mine recently shared the following with my husband when they both ended up at the same networking breakfast. Diane told him about an incident that happened years earlier when she had just moved to Atlanta and was attending her very first meeting of a particular organization. After she registered and received her name tag, she found herself standing near the entrance, alone, facing a sea of unfamiliar faces. “Within a matter of minutes, your wife (that would be me!) noticed my discomfort and immediately came to the doorway to welcome me and introduced herself. She asked if this was my first meeting and would I like to sit with her and meet the other women at her table?” Of course, I was very relieved to have someone ‘show me the ropes’ and make me feel so welcomed. Diane went on to tell my husband that she would never forget what I did for her and the gesture of friendship. The way she looked out for me will always stand out. She continued that she ended up joining the organization in part because of my warmth and actions. As a result of her example, Diane said she makes it her business to do the same thing whenever she’s in a situation where someone else is standing awkward and alone. “Be sure to say hi to Bonnie for me.” Of course, I clearly remembered the experience as Phil described it to me. For me to extend a simple gesture of caring to someone was not that unusual. I had no idea, however, the impact kindness had made on Diane or that my sensitivity to her situation allowed her to feel comfortable and welcomed. As I’ve said many, many times, one never knows the impact you can have on another individual by using “The Quick Connection.” I know what it feels like to step into a new situation and be alone. No doubt you’ve been in that situation yourself. Now you have a strategy that can help someone else
Be on the Lookout
Connection”. Look for opportunities. Practice in different places throughout the day. Be sensitive to others’ needs. I’m not implying any business will develop from being a person who connects in these casual encounters. I am suggesting, however, that as you demonstrate you care about the people with who you come in contact during your regular activities, the same strategies will serve you well in the business arena.
Create A Style – Be Memorable
There are many ways to “Be Memorable” in the way you handle yourself. Be great at following up. Do what you say you’re going to do. Offer compliments whenever you can. Do more listening than talking. Be generous in helping others. Invite people you know to people they need to meet. Invite people you meet to people they need to know. Extend invitations to events you think will be of interest to others. Use someone’s name whenever there’s a name tag. Send thank-you notes. Look for any opportunity you can to live a positive imprint everywhere you go and in everything you do.
The other side of “Be Memorable” is your appearance. We know that Larry King always wears suspenders; Elton John is known for his unusual glasses and outfits; Lady GaGa has a one-of-a-kind persona and Bob Hope was always with a golf club. Why? Each individual created a signature style that stands out and is memorable. We associate the person and the style and it feels right. We expect it and they each deliver. As for me, I have an addiction to cowboy boots. I always wear them I collect them. I even have cowboy boots for ‘walking’! Anyone who knows me; knows of my addiction. I never knowingly intended to make cowboy boots my signature style. It simply unfolded that way over time. I can be walking in a mall and hear someone call to me from behind. They see those ‘boots’ and identify me. You can stand out as well by creating a unique style. Consider wearing a certain color scheme, scarves, unusual pin or tie, or anything else that will after a while become a style that someone connects with you. I have a friend who always wears a hat. We have a friend that is known for his unusual ties. I met a woman at a networking event who always wears a giraffe pin! She collects them! How do I know? I asked her and she shared the story.
Think about all the logos we immediately recognize. You, too, can have a signature style, look or feature. You just have to decide and begin. It will take a while for it to catch on and it will.
What Have You Got To Lose?
There you have it, 3 simple strategies that can make the difference between frustration, poor results, and a treadmill of disappointment or a new way to begin connecting with others. Only you know the degree of your success in your networking endeavors. Only you can decide if implementing “The Quick Connection” is worth your time. I can tell you from my own experiences that to have an arsenal of fresh ideas ready to aim and fire in any situation is a lot more empowering than hoping your results will change by continuing your usual pattern. Let’s be real. Today’s marketplace is crowded. Everyone is scurrying for their share of your time, your attention, and your business. You CAN distinguish yourself. You CAN be memorable under any circumstance. You CAN make a difference in the lives you touch and in the lives that touch you.
Call to Action!
Thank you for investing your valuable time and reading this e-book.
Are you ready to take the next step in your business networking success? To create the
success you deserve, here’s what you can do:
Contact Bonnie at email@example.com and schedule your FREE (30 minute)
Business Networking Breakthrough Session – so that you can:
• Understand where and how you are currently networking
• Uncover hidden challenges that may be sabotaging your networking
• Leave the session renewed and inspired to turn your networking efforts into
successful business-building opportunities.
Remember – Using “Quick Connection” techniques will build your business success!
This article was adapted from Bonnie’s E-Book Using “The Quick Connection” to Build Your Business Success
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