Supercharged Networking: Build Relationships First, So Business Will Follow™ – Lorry Rifkin, CPA
As an introvert, I never thought a simple logo and hashtag would have established me as a networking guru.
I cannot promise you the same results, or if you start on a similar journey will be easy or without multiple failures.
The journey has taken me many years, and sheer perseverance and persistence kept me going thru the rough patches.
But once I developed an informal toolkit of tips and strategies to overcome my initial shyness and fear of networking with others, my success grew exponentially.
Early in the Covid world, I documented everything that helped improve my networking and what did not work over the years, creating the #lunchwithlorry Supercharged Networking Build Relationships First networking method.
It was time to share with others the knowledge I did not have when I started.
I wrote and produced a 140-page networking workbook, online networking course, and award-winning online virtual event. Almost 500 unique people have started genuine relationships with others from these #lunchwithlorry events and networking knowledge I have shared.
For years if I met you, I rushed right into saying what I do. Immediately followed by can you help me find a job or business using a standard elevator pitch. It never worked!
Until I learned, the key to networking success boils down to this:
Share your life stories to find common interests or experiences with others by asking lots of personal questions. Questions I was afraid to ask for so many years.
Personal questions drive relationships, and these relationships create an army of people who want to help you.
As we come out of Covid and have more in-person networking opportunities, please use my favorite ideas below to supercharge your networking efforts and get the results you deserve.
Understand the true definition of networking:
Networking is Sales.
Of the most important product in the world
You or the organization. ™
Consciously or subconsciously, we are all salesman working to sell ourselves to people we meet.
You cannot network unless you start.
For years I was paralyzed to start because I didn’t think I could network as well as an extroverted natural networker or post like a LinkedIn expert. And that was correct. But who cares?
Start now, and every day, you will get better. Today I network better than most extroverts, and I constantly work establishing myself as a LinkedIn Social Media Influencer.
You can supercharge your virtual networking efforts and get unbelievable results.
Yes, Covid restricted or eliminated in-person events. My business card pile finally stopped growing.
Virtual networking is different. Most people don’t have great success building a network with it. It requires different methods to drive success, like using chat screens, making immediate LinkedIn connection requests and posts about events you attend.
To supercharge your virtual networking efforts, you must be more organized and proactive.
Created a virtual networking word template to contains everything about a virtual event you attend, from pictures to the chat.
Create a networking persona.
A networking person is the combination of your:
Give – How you can help others (not sell or ask for something)
Differentiator – What makes you different than other individuals.
Pitch – What you tell people about yourself in 30 seconds.
Develop a networking social media marketing plan.
With three companies with three different and occasionally overlapping markets, I needed a plan. That plan had various targets and messaging. That is why you might need separate companies, logos, and content delivered in different ways.
A social media marketing plan gives you the infrastructure to do that and measure your results.
Respect the math and science behind Networking.
Networking is based on the natural compounding number e, and it follows the scientific law of conservation of energy. The math means it takes over 1,000 connections and around 9 to 12 months for you to see results.
The science means you must give energy to your network before taking any out. Why?
If everyone takes energy out, the network will collapse from the depletion of its energy!
Giving is the key to getting what you want.
Networking requires giving. And it is critical to give for a while before you ask your network for something to take (which is usually asking them for business or a job).
You can give in many ways when you network and on LinkedIn. Refer business to others, like, comment, and reshare their posts. Share your subject matter expertise. Help someone who needs a job or is less fortunate than you.
LinkedIn is the preferred social media platform for business so master it.
LinkedIn is the default business-to-business social media platform. Setup and individual and company accounts. Connect to all your existing connections and new people you meet. Ask people to follow your company page.
Engage your connections by giving first. Like, comment, and reshare the posts of your connections. Then start posting by being a subject matter expert or reshare engaging content of others. Video is a great way to do that.
Strive to become a subject matter expert driving people to you instead of you having to find them.
It’s a lot easier having people connect with you than for you to find them. Over time this incoming traffic will convert to sales because you will be the sought-out expert in a field. And it is easier to connect with people when they know you are an expert in something.
Storytelling is the key to success.
People might not remember your name, but they will remember your stories, especially if they have some common interests your story illustrates. You get others to share their stories by asking personal questions to get an X-ray into their soul and start a relationship.
Monitor your LinkedIn Social.
LinkedIn has a hard-to-find tool to let you know how you are doing. Located at https://business.linkedin.com/sales-solutions/social-selling/the-social-selling-index-ssi
I recommend tracking it monthly to monitor your progress. It measures the below categories against your industry and network connections.
- Establish your professional brand.
- Finding the proper connection.
- Engage with insights.
- Building relationships
Connect with Lorry on LinkedIn.