I gave a talk the other day in Brisbane to a group of young professionals (25-35 yr olds) on how to build your business network.
“80% of life is just turning up.” (Woody Allen)
Nothing could be truer in the world of business to business selling.
I gave the group a simple acronym that you can use to help grow your business network. It’s called SMILE.
S is for Stories
What’s yours? Where have you come from, where are you now, and where are you going? What’s your X factor? We all have one. I think your X factor can change over time, but we all have one. Mine is my quirky sense of humour. Use your networking and conversational skills to find out what other people’s story is. I spoke about Seth Godin (US marketing guru) and the Purple Cow. Are you a Purple Cow? Will people remember you or are you just vanilla, blending in with the masses? Will anyone remember you?
M is for Motivation
Why are you looking to grow your network? You tend to receive in life what you think you will receive. Be clear on your own motivation for wanting to network. Have a plan and stick to it. You’ll be amazed what can happen.
I is for Interests
Firstly don’t try too hard to be interesting. It doesn’t work. Be you, but develop yourself and interests over time. Read, meet interesting people and get out of your comfort zone. Change nothing and nothing changes. Find out something interesting about all the people you meet. Remember little things about them.
L is for linkages
This is my favourite. Help others by generating referalls for them. give them ideas and suggestions. Watch what happens to your business over time. Screen who you refer as poor referrals wont help your cause. Be seen as a source of contacts. Distance yourself from poor operators. Focus on spending as much time as you can with strong collaborators.
E is for Events
Attend a lot of them and have a plan at each event. Robin Henderson is the networking guru in Australia . That’s all she speaks on. Done it for years. She must have about 80 million contacts! She has some very good articles on networking on her site.
Think deeper rather than wider. Remember names (there are some simple techniques for this). Act like the host. Introduce people to other people. Listen, take notice and follow up.
For a full copy of my speech just email firstname.lastname@example.org and request the networking SMILE speech from August 1st, 2007.