Networking, whether it's for your personal chef business or any other business venture or 'thing you do, is a major key component in building everything. Many times, as business owners, we get our order of events mixed up, when it comes to networking, and botch our own process. What I mean by that is that we lack a clear understanding of what networking 'is' and what to 'do' with it.
You see... networking is a way to make valuable connections. It's a way to meet common goals and objectives. It's a way to discover avenues to serve. It's a way to expand your brand. You have to think win-win-win. Approach it the right way and you'll not only make a great name for yourself, you'll also get everything you want out of it, and then some; approach it wrong and... you'll be looked at as another pushy, nondescript sales person, trying to hock their wares to the uninterested, like those rows of unmemorable flea market vendors you wouldn't give the time of day.
That reads painful, but maybe for many, all too familiar.
Here's your networking nuggets list. Incorporate this in your business building practices and you will reap the rewards and help avoid that 'bumper-to-bumper professional traffic jam':
Connecting for service.
- When you make your initial connections as you begin your networking campaigns, you've gotta keep this in the forefront of your mind, "How can I add the most value to this person or this group? and How can I make a positive, lasting impression?" In other words, What do you have, that they need, that they're looking for, that they would be left in a deficit if you didn't provide it to them?
- Can, when you walk away from your interaction, you see those you've interacted with enriched? if yes, Great! if not, You need to go back to your drawing board find out what's necessary to accomplish that goal? What do you need to provide them that would boost them as people? It doesn't have to be in your profession, it just has to be something that you can enrich them with.
- You're not in the business to make a sale first, you're in the business to establish a beneficial relationship. Folks do business with those they're comfortable with and who can meet their needs. Many times in that order.
- I'm in the relationship building business. In all of the things I do, I genuinely like the folks I do business with. I work in many different industries [Digital Marketing being one of them] and the platforms that I've been given has been based out of the relationships I've established. I've authored marketing campaigns, lectured at colleges, planned, written and produced arts policy, content and television events at the local, regional and national levels and operated and consulted in many industries based solely out of the relationships I've established and the trust that was built from them. And get this... the majority of those involvements never came by way of my asking to do them. They came by way of their asking me if I would head them up, because through my relationships, they began to get to know other aspects of me and how I could benefit them.
- Sometimes you've gotta just let your proverbial hair down and let the real you shine through. It's important, because you feel comfortable and natural, your prospects feel comfortable and open around you and it makes coming to the table to mutually benefit each other 2nd nature. It's just merely an extension of a conversation you're already in and enjoying.
Finding Opportunities to 'WOW'
3 Questions to ask YOURSELF before you go to your networking events.
- "Why am in this business?, Why am I doing this? or Why am I going?"
- "How can I bring the best good to the table?"
- "How can I over deliver?"
Always remember in your prospecting exercises... it's never about you, always about them and how your service/presence can pour into their highest good. In this line of business the quality of your connections is way more important than the quantity; and, you have to make sure you're the right person to deliver the highest good to your connections. If you don't have what they need, then connect them to the resources to fill their need. Do this and you become the person who has what they need and you create a Win-Win-Win scenario and you open the doors to their interest in you and your endeavors. Once you begin to look at your prospects from an authentic connection/fit perspective you'll flourish in ways you couldn't possibly pay for. Seriously! So keep an open heart, and open mind and an open ear.
Last tip... Let yourself think outside of your box. You will find creative ways to meet the needs of those you want to do business with.
As always, it's been my pleasure to serve you in this way. Until next time...