Article 42: The Lone Ranger Knew the Value of Networking!
Did you ever notice in most, if not all, of the Lone Ranger episodes that before the Lone Ranger went too deep into his mission of subduing the bad guys he networked with the local Sheriff and town’s people? He knew that the task would be much easier if he had the backing of those around him prior to ultimately helping those who needed him.
Most everyone believes that networking is a valuable part of a businesses success and some may even be able to give you a few reasons why. Even though you may hear similarities in their words what you will find, if you dig deeper, is that not always what they believe is actually what they do. The reasons vary but a few of the more common ones revolve around; “Not having enough time”, “Seeing the value”, or “Viewing it as intimidating”. All are very valid in their own right but the truth of the matter is that if you do not create some type of networking plan you will more than likely end up with being apart of someone else’s plan. What I mean by that is those who have a plan will be the ones setting your networking agenda by calling and trying to set up meetings with you. Not always a bad thing but know this – You may be a good networking partner for them but that relationship may not be a two way street.
Everyone must make time each month to break out of their comfort zone and put themselves in seemingly uncomfortable situations. You can remove a lot of that anxiety by creating a 30-60 second introduction script which should contain such components as; who you are, what you and your business have to offer and how best you may be able to help those you are meeting. Keep in mind that those are the basic things to include in your script. Other helpful pieces of information to include may be; how long you have been in business, where the business is located, and things which set you apart from competing companies. Keep in mind that while you are speaking your script you need to be outwardly expressing yourself with the passion you have for what you do. Remember if you aren’t excited about your product/service no one else will be nor will they take the time to inspire passion into what you are saying.
Regardless of which networking event you choose to attend make sure you go in with a game plan such as; Meet 8 new people, Spend quality time with 3 people I have met before, Find out what other companies the people I come in contact work with, or put forth more of an effort to identify 1-2 people who might be a good business collaboration fit and set up a meeting outside of this event to discuss in more detail how your businesses may be able to work together.
Last point about networking is to realize, whether you know it or not, that every person you come in contact with in person, over the phone or through email is evaluating you to determine how close they should allow you into their circle of influence. Meaning you never know who knows who so always treat everyone from the warehouse worker, mail clerk, receptionist, mid level manager etc. as if they were the backbone of the organization. Not saying to “blow smoke” their way but rather take a genuine interest in who they are and what they have to say. Odds are no one really ever does and those 2-3 minutes will do more for the both of you than any gift or high powered lunch ever could.
We all need to work together to in order to succeed. No one makes their mark by continuing to stay in their comfort zone. Establish the Lone Ranger mentality and come out and meet others who can help you advance your goals while ultimately helping them achieve theirs.
Jeffrey A. Mohr – Founder