A few days ago, I was in the middle of my morning routine – washing my face and brushing my teeth. And I was thinking of you guys. That’s right, I think of you on days other than Wednesday!
In particular, I thought about you, Josh Perlman, and your office – probably because of the oral hygiene part. It occurred to me that while you are a fantastic dentist, capable of a wide range of important tasks, some of my visits are a simple, basic, fundamental cleaning. And it’s absolutely crucial to the success of my well being.
So today, we’re going to review some of the fundamentals about networking and what – when practiced regularly – will have us successful.
Here are five things to keep in mind and practice:
Impression and Impact: This is not just about a first impression, though that’s important too. And again, Rachel Levin – our stylist – has taught us that it happens in all of seven seconds. This is about being intentional everywhere. Being on time. Being responsive. Having the answer or being honest about not having it and the willingness to get it. Partnership – working together. Our words and our actions make a difference. The kind of difference is up to us. And we train people – our clients and customers, our referral partners, our fellow Elevate members – how to think about is. Create and maintain a positive impression so that when you are thought of, there’s nothing in the way of someone adding to your business.
Clarity of Message: Simply put, know your stuff. Know the structure of your offering – like pricing, and be able to describe what you do and the benefits it offers to potential clients or customers. Said slightly differently, know your audience and what they’re looking for. And why you might be a fit for them. Know your industry. What’s going on out there, and how do you fit in or stand out? Be clear about your brand, your message, what you’ve got and it’s value. If you’re clear about your answers, you’ll be prepared to offer them intentionally when presented with the questions. Whether you expected them or simply overheard them.
Ask (but without attachment): At some point in any business conversation, there comes a time when action is needed. Whether you are speaking with a potential client or customer, or someone that could offer you referrals. Don’t stop right before making the ask. Maybe they’re ready to buy or hire you and maybe they’re not. But if you don’t pave the way, you will miss out sometimes. This is especially true in service based businesses because often times people don’t know where to begin so in their minds they will circle back. Structured and on purpose, circling back is fine. Left unchecked and open-ended, whatever possibility they may have experienced will evaporate with the next item on their To Do list. So ask! But, it’s important here to come from commitment and not attachment. Think about how you can support them. Offer the value. But if it’s not a fit, or they just don’t see it, no problem. Move on. Perhaps it will be for the next one. So no pressure, no attachment to the outcome.
Relationships: Here, a quick nod to Halloween. When it comes to our life and our businesses, remember that much comes down to relationships. So practice taking off the masks, and creating an experience that’s fun and enjoyable. People are *willing* to work with those who are profitable for them in some way, shape, or form. But they *want* to work with those who are a pleasure to work with. Create an experience of ease, connection, fun. Be responsive, responsible, and aware. Practice noticing what’s important to your client. And also, when appropriate, sharing parts of yourself. We’re all human beings on this big blue marble. Demonstrate an awareness of what matters for your clients, and you’ll have them for life – or at least as long as possible. And they’ll connect you with others!
Follow Up: This is straight forward, especially in this room. We have the great benefit of coming across a multitude of people and generating the beginnings of a large number of relationships. Don’t just take business cards. Take notes if necessary. I don’t have to tell you, life is packed to the gills, and it moves really fast. If you don’t stay on people’s radar, the current will keep taking them downstream. Follow up, follow up, follow up.
When it comes to networking, keep in mind these five crucial elements: Impression and Impact, Clarity of Message, Ask (but without attachment), Relationships, and Follow Up.
And then, just rinse and repeat.
Don’t forget to floss, and have a scary and powerful day!