Networking for local business owners is perhaps the most important skill. It’s one of the highest-paid activities you can do yet often gets pushed to the back burner.
Ivan Misner’s widely recognized as the world’s most successful power networker. Keith Ferrazzi the best-selling author and Master networker might have an argument. Learn from both guys.
Ivan Misner founded BNI – Business Networking International organization. It’s the recognized authority group for professionals to network.
Bottom line, networking should be a priority.
It can bring in more business through referrals which is the other most neglected source of gold in your business.
Ivan Misner – tips from the master
1.Ask questions that offer help
Example: “What’s an underground struggle in your business that outsiders wouldn’t know about?”
2. Give first – offer to help first based on a challenge or problem they told you during the conversation
Get their business card or contact information. Find them on social networking sites and connect with them there. Follow up with a combination of e-mail, snail mail and periodic phone calls for those strategic networking relationships which can help your business.
Again, offer to help them first before asking for anything in return.
A couple other tips:
1. Open enthusiastically, come in with high energy and a positive tone in your voice
2. Stellar body language — maintain eye contact, don’t cross your arms leave them at your side
3. Host your own events — nothing gives you more biz “street cred” than being the host of an in person business networking event. People automatically look at you in a business celebrity kind of way.
Here’s more from bizjournals:
“The biggest networking mistake is to try to get something from the relationship,” Camusio said. “It’s like real estate agents who only meet people who want to buy houses. You’re selling, and people can smell that a mile away.”
Ivan R. Misner, founder and chairman of BNI, a networking organization, suggested that a great networker asks questions that offer help, not just ask for favors.
“This others-oriented approach produces a powerful and positive first impression, because people remember you as the person who offered to help them — not just as someone trying to sell them something or get something from them,” Misner said. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to put other networkers in touch with each other. “Both parties will be thankful for you connecting them. What you do for other people eventually pays back, ” Camusio said.
In addition to making good conversation, a great networker is conscious of their body language. CNN Money attests that the most important body language tip is to make steady eye contact with the person you are talking to. They also emphasize to not cross your arms in a closed-off manner; instead, put them behind your back. Begin
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