Identifying Your Targets
Networking starts with introductions and introductions come in a number of forms. I have separated them into five categories:
Cold calls are attempts to contact people who you don’t know and have little or no information about. They can hardly be called introductions. Calling names that you received from telephone directories or similar listings are cold calls. They are usually attempts to contact targets who you don’t know without any introduction or referral.
3 Steps to Forming Networks That Consistently Send You Referrals
We all have networks. They consist of everyone we know: our friends, family, and business associates. Our doctors, dentists, dry cleaners, mechanics, and CPAs are also members of our networks.
Why Build Your Network?
Networks are an invaluable source of referrals. Referral expert Joanne Black, the author of No More Cold Calling (Business Plus, 2007) notes that when you get clients or customers through referrals:
You are pre-sold. They have heard about and want to work with you.
Don’t Talk in Code: Making Your Business Message Clear
Language can be unclear so define all key terms to make sure that everyone is speaking the same language. For example, I tell people that I am going to help them create a message that the media will say yes to. Many people may not understand what I mean by the word “message,” so I define it for them. Their message is a one or two sentence introduction that explains the benefits they will provide.
Most people are uncomfortable promoting themselves. Debbie Allen, the author of Confessions of Shameless Self-Promoters (McGraw-Hill, 2005), and a professional business speaker polled thousands of members of her audiences. She found that 85% were uncomfortable with the idea of promoting themselves. Their feelings stemmed from their being taught that modesty is a virtue and they boast or brag.
Noted speaker, Mimi Donaldson (www.mimidonaldson.com, Bless), author of Bless Your Stress It Means You’re Still Alive (Yes!