“The richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work,” says author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki.
It’s May and as a BNI 62 visiting professor during this month of college graduations, I want to help you graduate from simple networking to business development.
To do this, it’s time to change the way you think about “networking.”
Networking is an investment of time, energy, money and effort. It’s something to be measured and evaluated quarterly as an integral part of your business, not just something to dive into blindly.
As college students head into final exams this month, today I’m giving you a pop quiz to help you evaluate whether you are simply networking or if you are really using your efforts to develop business:
Question 1: When you network, how do you qualify who you’re willing to meet with? Does it have to be someone who works in the same industry you do? Or could your networking efforts focus on finding others who want to meet the same people you do? What rule of thumb do you use to determine who you network with?
Question 2: What do you provide for those whom you choose to network with? Is it just simply your business card? Or do you give them something more to take away from the meeting that not only includes the types of people and businesses who make great clients for you, but other business building referrals with whom you’d like to develop strategic referral alliances? Ask yourself: how can I make it easier for someone to remember who it is that I want to meet to build my business?
The first step for both of these pop quiz questions is to better understand your own business and how you want to build it — including who your best clients and referral partners tend to be and categorizing them into people and/or businesses you’d like to find as prospects.
Next week we’ll talk more about how to take your efforts to the next level so you can build more business this year through networking.