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Networking is an Important Part of Your Marketing!

Networking is an important element of your marketing activities. If you think of marketing as a process…and your connection with people is obviously a very important element to your networking program.

There are two types of people you are likely going to want to network with…people you want as customers and people you want to develop relationships with to be ongoing referral sources. Some people refer to the latter type person as a power partner.

Regardless of your intent below are few tips for networking that I believe are important.

1. The Law of Reciprocity. The goal of networking is to connect with people and to have them help you connect with others. If we enter a network relationship with the idea of first trying to help out the other person as opposed to the “what’s in it for me” the networking relationship will likely develop much quicker!

Further by helping someone else first, the Law of Reciprocity comes into play. “You’ve helped me, so now I feel “obligated” to help you.” This type of win-win relationship is going to take you much further than a “send me some leads/customers” approach! 

2. Don’t assume others are going to be thinking about you all the time.  First, let’s not fall into the trap that passing referrals to you is the other person’s top priority. They have a life and business to run so it is safe to assume you are not the top priority for them.

That means you need to figure out the appropriate way to stay visible without being a pest. You certainly can’t call them weekly to ask…”do you have a referral for me yet?!”

This leads to needing to use marketing techniques to maintain a reasonable amount of top of mind awareness without becoming a pest. As with the rest of your marketing, there isn’t ONE thing you should use or do to accomplish this…but a variety of items. Being informative or educational is a great “genre” for staying in touch as it hopefully adds value to the recipient. Gifts are also a way to stay in touch…and the likelihood is you can’t give “too many” nice gifts to someone.

3. You are not the only “fish in the ocean”. It is helpful to realize that you are likely not the only person networking with your contacts.  There needs to be a balance between quantity and quality. Having too large of a group will hinder your ability to send an appropriate quantity of referrals back to your networking partners.

And going back to the second point, you need to maintain mind share with your referral partners so that they are thinking of you an appropriate percentage of the time and not giving all their referrals to others.

4. Use a variety of tools to stay connected.  Social media is great, but if you are a power user and assume that everyone else is also a power user–you are making a huge mistake!  Even if your referral partners use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…most users are not looking thru their updates and reading everyone’s posts regularly.

That is why you need to use a variety of tools including direct mail, phone calls, hand written notes and electronic media. Promotional products and nice gifts are also important tools in this effort as these items have a proven track record for recall and retention.

Now to borrow from Nike, you need to “just do it!”  Get out there and network more effectively!

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