- Ask for what you want. By helping others, you've now earned the right to request assistance yourself. Don't be shy. As long as you've done your best to serve those in your network, they will be more than willing to return the favor.
Send a prompt note after meeting someone for the first time. Let's say you attend a dinner and make a new contact. Send a short note as soon as possible explaining how much you enjoyed meeting and talking with him or her. Enclose some of your own materials and perhaps include information that might be of interest to this person (e.g., the name and number for a trade magazine). Tip: Be sure to send the note within 48 hours after your initial meeting so that it is received while you are still fresh in your contact's mind.
- Tell people how they have helped you. If you sat next to someone at a dinner meeting and received helpful suggestions, let that person know specifically how you utilized that advice (or plan to implement it). People like to hear that you value their opinions and benefit from their knowledge.
Acknowledge powerful presentations. If you hear an interesting presentation or read a great article, send a note to the speaker or writer and tell him or her how much you enjoyed and learned from their message. One person in a hundred will take the time to do this - be the one that does!
When you receive a referral or helpful written materials, always send a thank you note or call to express your appreciation. Follow this suggestion only if you want to receive more referrals and more useful information. If you don't acknowledge that person sufficiently, he or she will be much less likely to assist you in the future.
- Send congratulatory cards and letters. If someone in your network gets a promotion, award or celebrates some other occasion (e.g., marriage, birth of a child, etc.) write a short note of congratulations. Everyone loves to be recognized, yet very few people take the time, to do this. Being thoughtful in this manner can only make you stand out. (Note: It is also appropriate to send a card or memorial gift when a family member dies.)
Networks are built over time, and significant results usually don't show up immediately.
The networking suggestions offered above are merely the tip of the iceberg. You should be able to come up with several new ideas of your own. How? By going to your library or bookstore and seeking out the many excellent books on networking ... and by noticing what other people are doing and adapting their ideas in a way which suits you.
Remember that networks are built over time and that significant results usually don't show up immediately. So be patient! Build a solid foundation of relationships and continue to expand and strengthen them. You'll have to "put in" a lot before you begin reaping the big rewards.
One Final Point
Great networking skills are not a substitute for being excellent in your field. You might be a terrific PR person, but if you aren't talented at what you do and are not constantly learning and improving, your efforts will yield disappointing results.
Now, go ahead! Select a few of these networking techniques and implement them right away. Get to work serving and improving your network. Then you will truly have an army of troops working to help you succeed!
© 2002. Cheryl Gonzalez - firstname.lastname@example.org Cheryl Gonzalez has been pioneering a new concept for Network Marketers who want to totally work online for the past 10 years and teaches "networking the net" to thousands of people all over the globe. She can be reached directly at 210-341-1611.