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What Do You Know About Networking?

Inspired by Mistake No. 20 from The Termite Effect.

Last year I taught an undergraduate small business management course at a local college. During our discussion on marketing, I innocently posed the following question, “What do you guys know about networking?” One of my students looked at me with a straight face and said, “You mean like networking computers?”

What do YOU know about networking? Is it part of your overall marketing plan or are you more like my students?

I think it is safe to say that the Holy Grail for any entrepreneur is to have 100% of their business coming from existing customers and referrals. I previously wrote about dealing with existing customer here and here so let’s take a few moments to look at how effective networking can help lead you to those precious word-of-mouth referrals.

#1 – It is said that the average person knows 250-300 people. Stop and consider this: you are two introductions away from 60,000-90,000 people. What do you think of networking now?

#2 – Think of networking as running for office. Instead of securing votes, you are securing relationships. Just like a politician running for office, you, as the owner of a business, are always on stage, always networking, always building relationships, always building your network.

#3 – Effective networking requires that you have a servant’s heart. You must be genuinely interested in helping other people in your network without immediately getting anything in return.

#4 – People do business with people they like but they do more with people they trust. Effective networking helps move people from “Like” to “Trust”.

#5 – Effective networking requires attributes that, quite frankly, most people do not possess – diligence, persistence, consistency and discipline.

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