Strategies for Networking and Building Strong Relationships

In this video we discuss how to make your efforts more effective by giving our top strategies for building strong relationships when networking.

Networking is not about selling but rather cultivating and building connections with potential clients or referral partners.   Networking is about giving, creating rapport, and focusing on others.  Don't just gather business cards...build strong relationships!

Pro Tip

To me networking is not an event, or a place, or a group, but rather a lifestyle, a journey of an ever growing circle of influence. 

(Read the Full Transcript Here)

If you're networking for your business but you don't have a plan for how to build strong relationships with those that you meet, you're frankly just wasting your time.

Hey, I'm Melissa with RodgerandMelissa.com, and today I'm going to give you our top strategies for networking and building strong relationships with those that you meet.

Now when Rodger and I first started networking we felt pretty good about ourselves when we came home with a bunch of business cards, checked that box off, yep, we went networking. But we quickly realized that without developing really good relationships, those cards were basically worthless for us and for those contacts.

So since that time we've developed some proven ways to take an initial connection and then confidently turn it into a strong, professional relationship. If I had to give a short definition for networking, it would simply be the act of intentionally strengthening relationships. And to me networking is not an event, or a place, or a group, but rather a lifestyle, a journey of an ever growing circle of influence.

Now it is true that not everyone you meet on this journey will be a fruitful relationship or will turn into monetary results. But every encounter is an opportunity to potentially connect people together even if that connection doesn't directly benefit your bottom line at that time.

Ultimately your network, your sphere of influence, is your power. 

Because powerful people are defined by the ability to make things happen, not their title, or their education, or their pedigree, but rather their ability to get it done. Powerful people have a network of others that know how to get things done. Not necessarily how to do it themselves, but rather who they can connect to make it happen.

So what does it take, besides intentionality, patience, and consistency? Well here are our top five must haves to build strong connections that will produce results.

So number one, have an attitude of abundance. There's enough business to go around, really there is. During your lifetime you are bound to meet several people that do exactly what you do, and if you don't, well maybe there isn't really a demand for it, but that's not the only type of abundance that I'm talking about. I'm also talking about your network. You can never have too many people in your network of contacts, or in your sphere of influence. And you can never be too generous with those connections. Don't hoard your connections, don't keep your network and your resources or your information from other people. Share what you know and who you know.

Number two, practice reciprocity. Now that doesn't mean that you only give back once you have received, it's actually built on the foundation of give first. Referrals, contacts, information, ideas, leads, resources, advice, anything to help those in your network. Make it your motto to be a value add for everyone that you know. Find value and satisfaction in helping others, and expect nothing in return. Remember, if they need a connection, a service, or a product, or resource, they will find it with or without your help. So if you can help, they will remember it, and they will appreciate your efforts.

Number three, build a solid rapport with others. Find common interests, listen for ways that you can be of service to those that you know. Build mutually beneficial relationships when you can, and value everyone's time and opinion. This is a skill you have to practice. It's in our nature to find out the facts, report the facts, and solve problems as quickly as we can. But sometimes we just need to slow down and build a solid rapport first. Webster's Dictionary defines rapport as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other's feelings and ideas and communicate well.

Well that brings us to number four, that mastering the art of conversation. All networking occurs through communication. So learn to express yourself with confidence, conviction, and compassion. Find simple ways to keep them talking, sharing what they need and what they want. That way you have an abundance of information for future follow up, and making valuable connections to people, resources, and more. Don't bypass exploration and clarification questions during a conversation just to get to your own agenda. Rather, ask the questions, keep them talking, make it about them, it will come back around to you eventually.

And finally, number five, solidify your follow up. I know, I talk about this a lot, but the old saying that the fortune is in the follow up is absolutely true. The strength of your relationships is built from the follow up and the follow through. People don't want to just hear from you when you need or you want something. So take the time, make the effort, and stay connected. Know what is happening in people's lives and in their business. Send them notes of congratulations, thanks, or encouragement. Stand out as the friend or connection who takes the time to pay attention.

Now this is not an exhaustive list of ways to strengthen relationships, but get these five right and you're well on your way. Now for more information on networking, check out these videos on your elevator pitch, and on turning old contacts into new connections. If you're new to the channel, be sure to subscribe, and if we brought you some value today, go ahead and smash that like button. And as always, take care of yourself, take care of your business, and if you need us, we're here.