According to an article by Duncan Mathison and Martha I. Finney, authors of Unlock the Hidden Job Market Almost everyone hates networking and does a lousy job at it!
Mathison and Finney say “The fixes are simple and easy to follow.” You can find their article by clicking here.
I agree with their article and want to add my perspective on what to do if networking isn’t working for you. Use my strategy. It’s simple, it’s measurable and you can monitor your results.
One of my IT colleagues is actually working on a way to utilize the strategy using Microsoft Outlook. Keep your fingers crossed that he can make it work!
Imagine a set of puzzle pieces that when fit together show you how to make measurable and profitable connections.
Opportunity – When you meet someone you are experiencing an “opportunity” this is your chance to get to know the person and to find ways to make the follow up profitable for both of you. After the opportunity has been established – move on to the next step in the process.
Contact – Once you’ve established that there could be a valuable exchange between you, ask how you should communicate in the future. Via email – What should put in the subject line? Via phone – Who answers their line? Via Fax – Is the line dedicated or do you have to call first? In every case, make note on the back of their card, so you know how best to follow up. When you are ready to move forward with the system – you want to make sure that the connection is good for both of you.
Explore – Before you reconnect, do your homework. What do you have in common? Google the person, check LinkedIn, Face Book, Twitter – wherever you can find insight into the person, you want to find ways to show that you are just like them. People like people who are like themselves. They buy from them, sell to them, hire them and refer them – finding common ground is crucial in building a successful relationship.
Strategize – You’ve established common ground; now develop a strategy that will be beneficial to both of you. You’ve got gifts of resources, contacts and referrals to share with your new connection.
Negotiate – You’ve put your cards on the table, shared your resources and are ready to ask for the opportunity to work together. You use the phrase “if I can provide you with resources that will add value to our relationship, can you do the same for me?” Make sure you both understand that effective networking strategy must be a win/win scenario.
Solution – You both shared resources and contacts, you listened carefully to each other and have established a comfort level on where you can reconnect whenever there is a good fit. Each will feel comfortable continuing to connect, because it isn’t about buying or selling it’s about building a relationship that benefits both sides!
It’s a systematic process using a strategy that puts the pieces of the puzzle together so that the results are measurable.